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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 20 Nov 2019

Submitted as: research article | 20 Nov 2019

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

Fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning and biogenic sources of fine carbonaceous aerosol in the Carpathian Basin

Imre Salma1, Anikó Vasanits-Zsigrai1, Attila Machon2, Tamás Varga3, István Major3, Virág Gergely3, and Mihály Molnár3 Imre Salma et al.
  • 1Institute of Chemistry, Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary
  • 2Air Quality Reference Center, Hungarian Meteorological Service, Budapest, Hungary
  • 3Isotope Climatology and Environmental Research Centre, Institute for Nuclear Research, Debrecen, Hungary

Abstract. Fine-fraction aerosol samples were collected, air pollutants and meteorological properties were measured in-situ in regional background environment of the Carpathian Basin, a suburban area and central part of its largest city, Budapest in each season for 1 year-long time interval. The samples were analysed for PM2.5 mass, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), water-soluble OC (WSOC), radiocarbon, levoglucosan (LVG) and its stereoisomers, and some chemical elements. Carbonaceous aerosol species made up 36 % of the PM2.5 mass with a modest seasonal variation and with a slightly increasing tendency from the regional background to the city centre (from 32 to 39 %). Coupled radiocarbon-LVG marker method was applied to apportion the total carbon (TC = OC + EC) into contributions of EC and OC from fossil fuel (FF) combustion (ECFF and OCFF, respectively), EC and OC from biomass burning (BB) (ECBB and OCBB, respectively) and OC from biogenic sources (OCBIO). Fossil fuel combustion showed rather constant daily or seasonal mean contributions (of 35 %) to the TC in the whole year in all atmospheric environments, while the daily contributions of BB and biogenic sources changed radically (from < 2 up to 70–85 %) over the seasons at all locations. In autumn, the three major sources contributed equally to the TC in all environments. In winter, it was the BB that was the major source with a share of 70 % at all sites. The contributions from biogenic sources in winter were the smallest, although they were still non-negligible with an increasing share (from 5 to 8 %) from the regional background to the urban sites. In spring, FF combustion and biogenic sources were the largest two contributors at all locations with typical shares of 45–50 % each. In summer, biogenic sources became the major source with a monotonically increasing tendency (from 56 to 72 %) from the city centre to the regional background. The share of BB was hardly quantifiable in summer. The ECFF made up more than 90 % of EC in spring and summer, while in autumn and winter, the contributions of ECBB were considerable. Biomass burning in winter and autumn offers the largest and considerable potentials for improving the air quality in cities as well as in rural areas of the Carpathian Basin.

Imre Salma et al.
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