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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
22 Nov 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Non Methane Hydrocarbons variability in Athens during winter-time: The role of traffic and heating
Anastasia Panopoulou1,2,4, Eleni Liakakou2, Valérie Gros3, Stéphane Sauvage4, Nadine Locoge4, Bernard Bonsang3, Basil E. Psiloglou2, Evangelos Gerasopoulos2, and Nikolaos Mihalopoulos1,2 1Chemistry Department, University of Crete, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
2National Observatory of Athens, Institute for Environmental Research and Sustainable Development, 15236 Palea Penteli, Greece
3LSCE, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, Unité mixte CNRS-CEA-UVSQ, CEA/Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France
4IMT Lille Douai, Université de Lille, SAGE – Département Sciences de l'Atmosphère et Génie de l'Environnement, 59000 Lille, France
Abstract. Non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) play an important role in atmospheric chemistry, contributing to ozone and secondary organic aerosol formation. They can also serve as tracers for various sources such as traffic, solvents, heating and vegetation. The current work presents, for the first time to our knowledge, time-resolved, uninterrupted data of NMHCs, from two to six carbon atoms, during a period of five months (mid-October 2015 to mid-February 2016) in the Great Athens Area (GAA), Greece. The measured NMHC levels are among the highest reported in literature for the Mediterranean area and the majority of the compounds demonstrates a remarkable day to day variability. Their levels increase by up to factor of four from autumn (October–November) to winter (December–February). Local meteorology and especially wind speed seems to control the variability of NMHC levels, with an increase up to a factor of 10 occurring under low wind speed (< 3 m s−1), reflecting the impact of local sources rather than long range transport. All NMHCs demonstrated a pronounced bimodal, diurnal pattern with a morning peak followed by a second one before midnight. The amplitude (intensity) of both peaks is gradually increasing towards winter, respectively to autumn, by a factor of 3 to 6 and nicely follow that of carbon monoxide (CO), indicating contribution from additional sources e.g. heating. By comparing the NMHC diurnal variability with that of black carbon (BC), its fractions associated with wood burning (BCwb) and fossil fuel combustion (BCff), as well as with source profiles we conclude that the morning peak is attributed to traffic while the night one mainly to heating. However, the present data set does not allow for quantification of the relative contribution of fossil fuel and wood burning for heating purposes, although tracers and source profiles clearly indicate the presence of both sources.
Citation: Panopoulou, A., Liakakou, E., Gros, V., Sauvage, S., Locoge, N., Bonsang, B., Psiloglou, B. E., Gerasopoulos, E., and Mihalopoulos, N.: Non Methane Hydrocarbons variability in Athens during winter-time: The role of traffic and heating, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Anastasia Panopoulou et al.
Anastasia Panopoulou et al.
Anastasia Panopoulou et al.


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Short summary
This work presents, for the first time in our knowledge, time-resolved, uninterrupted data of NMHCs by means of automatic chromatographs, during a period of 5 months in the Great Athens Area. The measured concentrations are higher for the majority of NMHCs relatively to other studies. A remarkable day to day variability is observed. The contribution of traffic and residential heating to the NMHCs are investigated, since they are the major sources impacting the air quality in the studied period.
This work presents, for the first time in our knowledge, time-resolved, uninterrupted data of...