1School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
2Department of Chemistry and Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Ireland
*now at: Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain
Abstract. Ambient wintertime background urban aerosol in Cork City, Ireland, was characterized using aerosol mass spectrometry. During the three-week measurement study in 2009, 93% of the 1 200 000 single particles characterized by an Aerosol Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (TSI ATOFMS) were classified into five organic-rich particle types, internally-mixed to different proportions with Elemental Carbon (EC), sulphate and nitrate while the remaining 7% was predominantly inorganic in nature. Non-refractory PM1 aerosol was also characterized using a High Resolution Time-Of-Flight Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS) and was also found to comprise organic matter as the most abundant species (62%), followed by nitrate (15%), sulphate (9%) and ammonium (9%), and then chloride (5%).
Positive matrix factorization (PMF) was applied to the HR-ToF-AMS organic matrix and a five-factor solution was found to describe the variance in the data well. Specifically, "Hydrocarbon-like" Organic Aerosol (HOA) comprised 19% of the mass, "Oxygenated low volatility" Organic Aerosols (LV-OOA) comprised 19%, "Biomass wood Burning" Organic Aerosol (BBOA) comprised 23%, non-wood solid-fuel combustion "Peat and Coal" Organic Aerosol (PCOA) comprised 21%, and finally, a species type characterized by primary m/z peaks at 41 and 55, similar to previously-reported "Cooking" Organic Aerosol (COA) but possessing different diurnal variations to what would be expected for cooking activities, contributed 18%. Despite wood, cool and peat being minor fuel types used for domestic space heating in urban areas, their relatively low combustion efficiencies result in a significant contribution to PM1 aerosol mass (44% and 28% of the total organic aerosols mass and non refractory PM1, respectively).