Characterization of aerosol chemical composition by aerosol mass spectrometry in Central Europe: an overview
1Paul Scherrer Institut, Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
2National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, M60 1QD, UK
3Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, Laboratory for Internal Combustion Engines, 8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland
4Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research, Laboratory for Air Pollution and Environmental Technology, 8600 Duebendorf, Switzerland
5Particle Chemistry Dept., Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
6Université Lyon 1, Lyon, 69626, France; CNRS, UMR5256, IRCELYON, Institut de recherches sur la catalyse et l'environnement de Lyon, Villeurbanne, 69626, France
Abstract. Real-time measurements of non-refractory submicron aerosols (NR-PM1) were conducted within the greater Alpine region (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France and Liechtenstein) during several week-long field campaigns in 2002–2009. A large variety of sites was covered including urban backgrounds, motorways, rural, remote, and high-Alpine stations, and also mobile on-road measurements were performed. Inorganic and organic aerosol (OA) fractions were determined by means of aerosol mass spectrometry (AMS). The average mass concentration of NR-PM1 for the different campaigns typically ranged between 10 and 30 μg m−3. Overall, the organic portion was most abundant, ranging from 36% to 81% of NR-PM1. Other main constituents comprised ammonium (5–15%), nitrate (8–36%), sulfate (3–26%), and chloride (0–5%). These latter anions were, on average, fully neutralized by ammonium. The OA was further divided (based on factor analysis, FA) into its underlying components, such as oxygenated (mostly secondary) organic aerosol (OOA), hydrocarbon-like and freshly emitted organic aerosol (HOA), as well as primary OA from biomass burning (P-BBOA). OOA was ubiquitous, ranged between 36% and 94% of OA, and could be separated into a low-volatility and a semi-volatile fraction (LV-OOA and SV-OOA) for all summer campaigns at low sites. Primary wood combustion (P-BBOA) accounted for a considerable fraction during wintertime (17–49% OA). HOA/OA ratios were comparatively low for all campaigns (6–16%) with the exception of on-road, mobile measurements (23%).