Articles | Volume 11, issue 5
Research article
07 Mar 2011
Research article |  | 07 Mar 2011

Primary sources of PM2.5 organic aerosol in an industrial Mediterranean city, Marseille

I. El Haddad, N. Marchand, H. Wortham, C. Piot, J.-L. Besombes, J. Cozic, C. Chauvel, A. Armengaud, D. Robin, and J.-L. Jaffrezo

Abstract. Marseille, the most important port of the Mediterranean Sea, represents a challenging case study for source apportionment exercises, combining an active photochemistry and multiple emission sources, including fugitive emissions from industrial sources and shipping. This paper presents a Chemical Mass Balance (CMB) approach based on organic markers and metals to apportion the primary sources of organic aerosol in Marseille, with a special focus on industrial emissions. Overall, the CMB model accounts for the major primary anthropogenic sources including motor vehicles, biomass burning and the aggregate emissions from three industrial processes (heavy fuel oil combustion/shipping, coke production and steel manufacturing) as well as some primary biogenic emissions. This source apportionment exercise is well corroborated by 14C measurements. Primary OC estimated by the CMB accounts on average for 22% of total OC and is dominated by the vehicular emissions that contribute on average for 17% of OC mass concentration (vehicular PM contributes for 17% of PM2.5). Even though industrial emissions contribute only 2.3% of the total OC (7% of PM2.5), they are associated with ultrafine particles (Dp<80 nm) and high concentrations of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) and heavy metals such as Pb, Ni and V. On one hand, given that industrial emissions governed key primary markers, their omission would lead to substantial uncertainties in the CMB analysis performed in areas heavily impacted by such sources, hindering accurate estimation of non-industrial primary sources and secondary sources. On the other hand, being associated with bursts of submicron particles and carcinogenic and mutagenic components such as PAH, these emissions are most likely related with acute ill-health outcomes and should be regulated despite their small contributions to OC. Another important result is the fact that 78% of OC mass cannot be attributed to the major primary sources and, thus, remains un-apportioned. We have consequently critically investigated the uncertainties underlying our CMB apportionments. While we have provided some evidence for photochemical decay of hopanes, this decay does not appear to significantly alter the CMB estimates of the total primary OC. Sampling artifacts and unaccounted primary sources also appear to marginally influence the amount of un-apportioned OC. Therefore, this significant amount of un-apportioned OC is mostly attributed to secondary organic carbon that appears to be the major component of OC during the whole period of study.

Final-revised paper