Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 8841-8892, 2011
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/11/8841/2011/
doi:10.5194/acpd-11-8841-2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review Status
This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Transport of desert dust mixed with North African industrial pollutants in the subtropical Saharan Air Layer
S. Rodríguez1, A. Alastuey2, S. Alonso-Pérez1,2, X. Querol2, E. Cuevas1, J. Abreu-Afonso1, M. Viana2, M. Pandolfi2, and J. de la Rosa3
1Izaña Atmospheric Research Centre, AEMET Joint Research Unit to CSIC "Studies on Atmospheric Pollution", La Marina, 20, Planta 6, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, 38071, Canary Islands, Spain
2Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDǼA), CSIC, Jordi Girona, 18–26, 08034, Barcelona, Spain
3University of Huelva, Joint Research Unit to CSIC "Air Pollution", Campus El Carmen, 21071 Huelva, Spain

Abstract. The chemical composition of particulate matter samples (TSP, PM10 and PM2.5) collected from 2002 to 2008 in the North Atlantic free troposphere at Izaña Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) observatory (Tenerife, The Canary Islands) was studied. The analysis of the samples collected in the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) shows that soil desert dust is very frequently mixed with particulate pollutants. An analysis of this data set with Median Concentrations At Receptor (MCAR) plots allowed to identify the potential source regions of the dust and particulate pollutants. Areas located at the south of the Southern slope of Atlas emerge as the most frequent source of the soil desert dust advected to the northern edge of the SAL in summer. Industrial emissions occurring along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, Northern Algeria, Eastern Algeria and Tunisia appear as the most important source of the nitrate, ammonium and a fraction of sulphate (at least a 60% of the sulphate <10 μm transported from some regions) observed in the SAL. These emissions are mostly linked to crude oil refineries, phosphate-based fertilizer industry and power plants. Although desert dust emissions appear as the most frequent source of the phosphorous observed in the SAL, high P concentrations are observed when the SAL is affected by emissions from open mines of phosphate and phosphate based fertilizer industry. The results also show that a significant fraction of the sulphate (up to 90% of sulphate <10 μm transported from some regions) observed in the SAL is linked to soil emissions of evaporite minerals in well defined regions where dry saline lakes (chotts) are present. These interpretations of the MCAR plots are consistent with the results obtained with the Positive Matrix Factorization receptor modelling. The results of this study show that North African industrial pollutants may be mixed with desert dust and exported to the North Atlantic in the Saharan Air Layer.

Citation: Rodríguez, S., Alastuey, A., Alonso-Pérez, S., Querol, X., Cuevas, E., Abreu-Afonso, J., Viana, M., Pandolfi, M., and de la Rosa, J.: Transport of desert dust mixed with North African industrial pollutants in the subtropical Saharan Air Layer, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 8841-8892, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-8841-2011, 2011.
 
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