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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Sep 2018

Research article | 03 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Aliphatic Carbonyl Compounds (C8–C26) in Wintertime Atmospheric Aerosol in London, UK

Ruihe Lyu1,2, Mohammed Salim Alam1, Christopher Stark1, Ruixin Xu1, Zongbo Shi2, Yinchang Feng2, and Roy M. Harrison1,a Ruihe Lyu et al.
  • 1Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
  • 2State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Urban Ambient Air Particulate Matter Pollution Prevention and Control, College of Environmental Science and Engineering Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
  • aalso at: Department of Environmental Sciences/Centre of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. Three groups of aliphatic carbonyl compounds, the n-alkanals (C8–C20), n-alkan-2-ones (C8–C26) and n-alkan-3-ones (C8–C19) were measured in air samples collected in London from January–April 2017. Four sites were sampled including two roof-top background sites, one ground-level urban background site and a street canyon location on Marylebone Road in central London. The n-alkanals showed the highest concentrations followed by the n-alkan-2-ones and the n-alkan-3-ones, the latter having appreciably lower concentrations. It seems likely that all compound groups have both primary and secondary sources and these are considered in the light of published laboratory work on the oxidation products of high molecular weight n-alkanes. All compound groups show relatively low correlation with black carbon and NOx in the background air of London, but in street canyon air heavily impacted by vehicle emissions, stronger correlations emerge especially for the n-alkanals. It appears that vehicle exhaust is likely to be a major contributor for concentrations of the n-alkanals whereas it is a much smaller contributor to the n-alkan-2-ones and n-alkan-3-ones. Other primary sources such as cooking may be significant but were not evaluated. It seems likely that there is also a significant contribution from photo-oxidation of n-alkanes and this would be consistent with the much higher abundance of the n-alkan-2-ones relative to the n-alkan-3-ones if the formation mechanism were to be through oxidation of condensed phase alkanes. Vapour-particle partitioning fitted the Pankow model well for the n-alkan-2-ones but less well for the other compound groups, although somewhat stronger relationships were seen at the Marylebone Road site than at the background sites.

Ruihe Lyu et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Ruihe Lyu et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Organic matter comprises a substantial proportion of the mass of toxic airborne particles which cause poor health and premature death. In this paper, new measurements of three important groups of organic compounds are reported, and are analysed so as to infer their sources and their contributions to airborne particle concentrations.
Organic matter comprises a substantial proportion of the mass of toxic airborne particles which...