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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1178
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1178
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 29 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 29 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

The impact of traffic on air quality in Ireland: insights from simultaneous kerbside and sub-urban monitoring of submicron aerosols

Chunshui Lin1,2,3, Darius Ceburnis1, Wei Xu1,2, Eimear Heffernan4, Stig Hellebust4, John Gallagher5, Ru-Jin Huang1,2,3, Colin O'Dowd1, and Jurgita Ovadnevaite1 Chunshui Lin et al.
  • 1School of Physics, Ryan Institute's Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, H91 CF50, Ireland
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology and Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 710061, Xi'an, China
  • 3Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710061, China
  • 4School of Chemistry and Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  • 5Department of Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering,Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland

Abstract. To evaluate the impact of traffic on urban air quality, the chemical composition and sources of submicron aerosols (PM1) were simultaneously investigated at a kerbside site in Dublin city centre and a residential site in sub-urban Dublin (~ 5 km apart) from 4 September to 9 November in 2018. Through the detailed comparison of one-week non-heating period in early September and heating period in late October, black carbon (BC) was found to be the most dominant component (38–55 % or 5.6–7.1 μg m−3) of PM1 at the kerbside while organic aerosol (OA) was the most important (46–63 % of PM1 or 1.0–8.7 μg m−3) at the residential site. The daily and weekly cycle of BC at the kerbside during non-heating period pointed to the major source of vehicular emissions, consistent with that for nitrogen oxides (NOx). However, traffic emissions were found to have a minor impact on air quality at the residential site due to its distance from traffic sources, as well as the effects of wind speed and wind direction. As a result of vehicular emissions and the street canyon effect, the kerbside increment (from urban background) ratio of up to 25 : 1 was found for BC during the non-heating period, but reduced to 10 : 1 during the heating period due to the additional sources of solid fuel burning impacting the air quality at both sites simultaneously. OA source analysis shows only 18–27 % (0.9–1.2 μg m−3) of OA at the kerbside associated with vehicular emissions, with higher contributions from cooking (18–36 % or ~ 1.2 μg m−3), solid fuel burning (~ 33 % or ~ 2.1 μg m−3), and oxygenated OA (31–37 % or 1.2–2.0 μg m−3). At the residential site, solid fuel burning contributed to approximately 50 % (2.7 μg m−3) of OA during the heating period, while oxygenated OA accounted for almost 65 % (0.5 μg m−3) of OA during the non-heating period. Based on simultaneous investigation of PM1 at different urban settings (i.e. residential vs kerbside), this study highlights temporal and spatial variability of sources within Dublin city centre and the need for additional aerosol characterisation studies to improve targeted mitigation solutions for greater impact on urban air quality. Moreover, traffic and residential heating may hold different implications for health and climate as indicated by the significant increment of BC at the kerbside and the large geographic impact of OA from residential heating at both the kerbside and residential sites.

Chunshui Lin et al.

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Short summary
Chemical composition and sources of submicron aerosols (PM1) were simultaneously investigated at a kerbside site in Dublin city centre and a residential site in sub-urban Dublin (~ 5 km apart) from 4 September to 9 November in 2018. This study highlights temporal and spatial variability of sources within Dublin city centre and the need for additional aerosol characterisation studies to improve targeted mitigation solutions for greater impact on urban air quality.
Chemical composition and sources of submicron aerosols (PM1) were simultaneously investigated at...
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