Characterisation of atmospheric single particles in industrial and regional background environments using aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry

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Arndt, Jovanna
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University College Cork
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The composition of atmospheric particles is an important factor in determining their impact on climate and health. In this study, an aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometer (ATOFMS) was used to measure the chemical composition of ambient single particles at two contrasting locations – an industrial site in Dunkirk, France and a regional background site in Corsica. The ATOFMS data were combined with meteorological information and other particle measurements to determine the various sources of the particles observed at the sites. The particle classes detected in Dunkirk included carbonaceous species from fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning, metal-containing types from local industries and seasalt. Highest particle number concentrations and mass concentrations of PM2.5, black carbon, organics, nitrate, ammonium and several metallic species (Fe, Mn, Pb, Zn) were found during periods heavily influenced by local industry. Particles from a ferromanganese alloy manufacturing facility were identified by comparing ambient ATOFMS data with single particle mass spectra from industrial chimney filters and ores. Particles from a steelworks were identified based on comparison of the ambient data with previous studies. Based on these comparisons, the steelworks was identified as the dominant emitter of Fe-rich particles, while the ferromanganese alloy facility emitted Mn-rich particles. In Corsica, regional transport of carbonaceous particles from biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion was identified as the major source of particles in the Mediterranean background aerosol. Throughout the campaign the site was influenced by air masses altering the composition of particles detected. During North Atlantic air masses the site was heavily influenced by fresh sea salt. Regional stagnation was the most common type of air mass regime throughout the campaign and resulted in the accumulation of carbonaceous particles during certain periods. Mass concentrations were estimated for ATOFMS particle classes, and good agreement was found between the major carbonaceous classes and other quantitative measurements. Overall the results of this work serve to highlight the excellent ability of the ATOFMS technique in providing source-specific composition and mixing state information on atmospheric particles at high time resolution.
ATOFMS , Atmospheric chemistry , Single particle , Aerosol , Aerosol time-of-flight mass spectrometry
Arndt, J. 2015. Characterisation of atmospheric single particles in industrial and regional background environments using aerosol time of flight mass spectrometry. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.