Articles | Volume 10, issue 9
05 May 2010
 | 05 May 2010

Aged organic aerosol in the Eastern Mediterranean: the Finokalia Aerosol Measurement Experiment – 2008

L. Hildebrandt, G. J. Engelhart, C. Mohr, E. Kostenidou, V. A. Lanz, A. Bougiatioti, P. F. DeCarlo, A. S. H. Prevot, U. Baltensperger, N. Mihalopoulos, N. M. Donahue, and S. N. Pandis

Abstract. Aged organic aerosol (OA) was measured at a remote coastal site on the island of Crete, Greece during the Finokalia Aerosol Measurement Experiment-2008 (FAME-2008), which was part of the EUCAARI intensive campaign of May 2008. The site at Finokalia is influenced by air masses from different source regions, including long-range transport of pollution from continental Europe. A quadrupole aerosol mass spectrometer (Q-AMS) was employed to measure the size-resolved chemical composition of non-refractory submicron aerosol (NR-PM1), and to estimate the extent of oxidation of the organic aerosol. Factor analysis was used to gain insights into the processes and sources affecting the OA composition. The particles were internally mixed and liquid. The largest fraction of the dry NR-PM1 sampled was ammonium sulfate and ammonium bisulfate, followed by organics and a small amount of nitrate. The variability in OA composition could be explained with two factors of oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA) with differing extents of oxidation but similar volatility. Hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA) was not detected. There was no statistically significant diurnal variation in the bulk composition of NR-PM1 such as total sulfate or total organic aerosol concentrations. However, the OA composition exhibited statistically significant diurnal variation with more oxidized OA in the afternoon. The organic aerosol was highly oxidized, regardless of the source region. Total OA concentrations also varied little with source region, suggesting that local sources had only a small effect on OA concentrations measured at Finokalia. The aerosol was transported for about one day before arriving at the site, corresponding to an OH exposure of approximately 4×1011 molecules cm−3 s. The constant extent of oxidation suggests that atmospheric aging results in a highly oxidized OA at these OH exposures, regardless of the aerosol source.

Final-revised paper