Application of 14C analyses to source apportionment of carbonaceous PM2.5 in the UK

Heal, M.R., Naysmith, P. , Cook, G.T. , Xu, S., Duran, T.R. and Harrison, R.M. (2011) Application of 14C analyses to source apportionment of carbonaceous PM2.5 in the UK. Atmospheric Environment, 45(14), pp. 2341-2348. (doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.029)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.02.029

Abstract

Determination of the radiocarbon (<sup>14</sup>C) content of airborne particulate matter yields insight into the proportion of the carbonaceous material derived from fossil and contemporary carbon sources. Daily samples of PM<sub>2.5</sub> were collected by high-volume sampler at an urban background site in Birmingham, UK, and the fraction of <sup>14</sup>C in both the total carbon, and in the organic and elemental carbon fractions, determined by two-stage combustion to CO<sub>2</sub>, graphitisation and quantification by accelerator mass spectrometry. OC and EC content was also determined by Sunset Analyzer. The mean fraction contemporary TC in the PM<sub>2.5</sub> samples was 0.50 (range 0.27–0.66, n = 26). There was no seasonality to the data, but there was a positive trend between fraction contemporary TC and magnitude of SOC/TC ratio and for the high values of these two parameters to be associated with air-mass back trajectories arriving in Birmingham from over land. Using a five-compartment mass balance model on fraction contemporary carbon in OC and EC, the following average source apportionment for the TC in these PM<sub>2.5</sub> samples was derived: 27% fossil EC; 20% fossil OC; 2% biomass EC; 10% biomass OC; and 41% biogenic OC. The latter category will comprise, in addition to BVOC-derived SOC, other non-combustion contemporary carbon sources such as biological particles, vegetative detritus, humic material and tyre wear. The proportion of total PM<sub>2.5</sub> at this location estimated to derive from BVOC-derived secondary organic aerosol was 9–29%. The findings from this work are consistent with those from elsewhere in Europe and support the conclusion of a significant and ubiquitous contribution from non-fossil biogenic sources to the carbon in terrestrial aerosol.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cook, Professor Gordon and Naysmith, Mr Philip and Xu, Dr Sheng
Authors: Heal, M.R., Naysmith, P., Cook, G.T., Xu, S., Duran, T.R., and Harrison, R.M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Atmospheric Environment
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1352-2310
Published Online:19 February 2011
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Atmospheric Environment 2011 45 (14):2341-2348)
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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