Factors, Origin and Sources Affecting PM1 Concentrations and Composition at an Urban Background Site

Stefania Squizzato, Mauro Masiol, Chiara Agostini, Flavia Visin, Gianni Formenton, Roy Harrison, Giancarlo Rampazzo

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PM1 is widely believed to provide better information on the anthropogenic fraction of particulate 29 matter pollution than PM2.5. However, data on PM1 are still limited in Europe as well as 30 comprehensive information about its chemical composition and source apportionment and this gap 31 is more evident in the pollution hot-spots still remaining in Europe, such as the Po Valley (Northern 32 Italy). Elemental and organic carbon, 7 water soluble inorganic ions and 17 elements were 33 quantified in 117 PM1 samples collected at an urban background site in Venice-Mestre, a large city 34 located in the eastern Po Valley, during winter (December 2013 – February 2014) and summer 35 (May-July 2014) periods.

Results show a strong seasonality for PM1 mass concentration (averages ranging from 6±2 in 37 summer to 34±24 μg m-3 in winter) and for most of the analyzed species. Components mainly 38 related to road traffic, residential heating, biomass burning and secondary inorganic aerosol 39 (ammonium nitrate) reached their highest levels in winter, while mineral dust and marine 40 components were elevated in summer. PMF analysis revealed 7 potential sources. Secondary 41 inorganic aerosol (33%) and biomass burning (33%) are the major contributor in winter followed by 42 EC-primary emissions (16%), aged sulphate (6%), road traffic (7%), fossil fuel combustion (%) and 43 marine aerosol (3%). During summer, these sources account for 12%, 14%, 20%, 22%, 8%, 14% 44 and 10%, respectively.

Some PM1 sources are located near the sampling site (residential area, traffic road, industrial area) 46 but a major contribution of long range transport is observed when high pollution events occur. The 47 results give useful insights into PM1 composition in an urban area and chemical profiles of sources 48 helpful in the interpretation of receptor model results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-273
JournalAtmospheric Research
Early online date3 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • PM1
  • water soluble inorganic ions
  • carbonaceous materials
  • mass closure
  • PMF


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