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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-833
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-833
© 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).

Ultrafine Particulate Matter Source Contributions across the Continental United States

Melissa A. Venecek1, Xin Yu2, and Michael J. Kleeman2 Melissa A. Venecek et al.
  • 1Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California Davis, Davis, CA
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California Davis, Davis, CA

Abstract. The regional concentration of airborne ultrafine particulate matter mass (Dp < 0.1µm; PM0.1) was predicted with 4km resolution in 39 cities across the United States during summer time air pollution episodes. Calculations were performed using a regional chemical transport model with 4km spatial resolution operating on the National Emissions Inventory created by the US EPA. Measured source profiles for particle size and composition between 0.01–10µm were used to translate PM total mass to PM0.1. PM0.1 concentrations exceeded 2µgm-3 during summer pollution episodes in major urban regions across the US including Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Houston, Miami, and New York. PM0.1 spatial gradients were sharper than PM2.5 spatial gradients due to the dominance of primary aerosol in PM0.1. Artificial source tags were used to track contributions to primary PM0.1 and PM2.5 from fifteen source categories. As expected, on-road gasoline and diesel vehicles made significant contributions to regional PM0.1 in all 39 cities even though peak contributions within 0.3km of the roadway were not resolved by the 4km grid cells. Food cooking also made significant contributions to PM0.1 in all cities but biomass combustion was only important in locations impacted by summer wildfires. Aviation was a significant source of PM0.1 in cities that had airports within their urban footprints. Industrial sources including cement manufacturing, process heating, steel foundries, and paper & pulp processing impacted their immediate vicinity but did not significantly contribute to PM0.1 concentrations in any of the target 39 cities. Natural gas combustion made significant contributions to PM0.1 concentrations due to the widespread use of this fuel for electricity generation, industrial applications, residential, and commercial use. The major sources of primary PM0.1 and PM2.5 were notably different in many cities. Future epidemiological studies may be able to differentiate PM0.1 and PM2.5 health effects by contrasting cities with different ratios of PM0.1/PM2.5. In the current study, cities with higher PM0.1/PM2.5 ratios include Houston TX, Los Angeles CA, Birmingham AL, Charlotte NC, and Bakersfield CA. Cities with lower PM0.1 to PM2.5 ratios include Lake Charles LA, Baton Rouge LA, St. Louis MO, Baltimore MD, and Washington DC.

Melissa A. Venecek et al.
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Melissa A. Venecek et al.
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Short summary
Atmospheric ultrafine particles with diameter < 100 nm are more toxic than larger particles. Measurement networks don’t exist for ultrafine particles but concentrations can be predicted using models. On-road vehicles, food cooking, and aircraft were important source of ultrafine particles as expected, but natural gas combustion was also a significant source in cities all across the United States. Results like this may support future health-effects studies for ultrafine particles.
Atmospheric ultrafine particles with diameter  100 nm are more toxic than larger particles....
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