Source apportionment of fine particles at urban background and rural sites in the UK atmosphere

Jianxin Yin, Roy Harrison, Q Chen, A Rutter, JJ Schauer

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    133 Citations (Scopus)


    Airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been collected at two sites in the West Midlands conurbation, UK, representing urban background and rural locations. Chemical analyses have been carried out for major anions, trace metals, total OC and EC, and for individual organic marker species including n-alkanes, hopanes, PAHs, organic acids and sterols. Source apportionment has been conducted using both a pragmatic mass closure model and the US EPA chemical mass balance (CMB) model. The pragmatic mass closure model is well able to account for the measured PM2.5 mass in terms of chemical/source components, and the chemical mass balance model has been used to apportion the carbonaceous component of the aerosol. The dominant components Of PM2.5 at both sites are secondary inorganic (sulphate and nitrate) and carbonaceous particles. The CMB model shows the latter to arise mainly from road traffic sources, with smaller contributions from vegetative detritus, wood smoke, natural gas, coal, and dust/soil. The CMB model also identifies an important component of the organic aerosol not associated with these primary sources, which correlates very strongly with secondary organic aerosol estimated from the CC/EC ratio. The split between different automotive source types does not relate well to UK emission inventories, and may indicate that CMB source profiles from North American studies and different carbon analysis protocols may lead to erroneous conclusions. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)841-851
    Number of pages11
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


    • Chemical composition
    • PM2.5
    • Source apportionment
    • Mass closure
    • Chemical mass balance


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