Receptor modelling of secondary and carbonaceous particulate matter at a southern UK site

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • De l'Aménagement et des Réseaux Laboratoire Transport et Environnement
  • IFSTTAR, Institut Francais des Sciences et Technologies des Transports, de l’Amenagement et des reseaux Laboratoire Transport et Environnement, 25 Avenue Francois Mitterrand Case 24, 69675 Bron Cedex, France
  • Department of Environmental Sciences / Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 80203, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia


Complementary approaches have been taken to better understand the sources and their spatial distribution for secondary inorganic (nitrate and sulphate) and secondary organic aerosol sampled at a rural site (Harwell) in the southern United Kingdom. A concentration field map method was applied to 1581 daily samples of chloride, nitrate and sulphate from 2006 to 2010, and 982 samples for organic carbon and elemental carbon from 2007 to 2010. This revealed a rather similar pattern of sources for nitrate, sulphate and secondary organic carbon within western/central Europe, which in the case of nitrate, sulphate, organic carbon and secondary organic carbon, correlated significantly with EMEP emissions maps of NOx, SO2, and VOC respectively. A slightly more southerly source emphasis for secondary organic carbon may reflect the contribution of biogenic sources. Trajectory clusters confirm this pattern of behaviour with a major contribution from mainland European sources. Similar behaviours of, on the one hand, sulphate and organic carbon and, on the other hand, EC and nitrate showed that the former are more subject to regional influence than the latter in agreement with the slower atmospheric formation of sulphate and secondary organic aerosol than for nitrate, and the local/mesoscale influences upon primary EC. However, careful analysis of back trajectories and Concentration Field Maps indicates a strong contribution of mainland European sites to EC concentrations at Harwell. In a separate study, measurements of sulphate, nitrate, elemental and organic carbon were made in 100 simultaneously collected samples at Harwell and at a suburban site in Birmingham (UK). This showed a significant correlation in concentrations between the two sites for all of the secondary constituents, further indicating secondary organic aerosol to be a regional pollutant behaving similarly to sulphate and nitrate.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1879-1894
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013