Articles | Volume 12, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 3761–3782, 2012

Special issue: DOMINO: the Diel Oxidant Mechanisms in relation to Nitrogen...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 3761–3782, 2012

Research article 25 Apr 2012

Research article | 25 Apr 2012

Variability of aerosol, gaseous pollutants and meteorological characteristics associated with changes in air mass origin at the SW Atlantic coast of Iberia

J.-M. Diesch1, F. Drewnick1, S. R. Zorn1,*, S.-L. von der Weiden-Reinmüller1, M. Martinez2, and S. Borrmann1,3 J.-M. Diesch et al.
  • 1Particle Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Atmospheric Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 3Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Mainz, Germany
  • *now at: AeroMegt GmbH, Hilden, Germany

Abstract. Measurements of the ambient aerosol were performed at the Southern coast of Spain, within the framework of the DOMINO (Diel Oxidant Mechanisms In relation to Nitrogen Oxides) project. The field campaign took place from 20 November until 9 December 2008 at the atmospheric research station "El Arenosillo" (37°5'47.76" N, 6°44'6.94" W). As the monitoring station is located at the interface between a natural park, industrial cities (Huelva, Seville) and the Atlantic Ocean, a variety of physical and chemical parameters of aerosols and gas phase could be characterized in dependency on the origin of air masses. Backwards trajectories were examined and compared with local meteorology to classify characteristic air mass types for several source regions. Aerosol number and mass as well as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and black carbon concentrations were measured in PM1 and size distributions were registered covering a size range from 7 nm up to 32 μm. The chemical composition of the non-refractory submicron aerosol (NR-PM1) was measured by means of an Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (Aerodyne HR-ToF-AMS). Gas phase analyzers monitored various trace gases (O3, SO2, NO, NO2, CO2) and a weather station provided meteorological parameters.

Lowest average submicron particle mass and number concentrations were found in air masses arriving from the Atlantic Ocean with values around 2 μg m−3 and 1000 cm−3. These mass concentrations were about two to four times lower than the values recorded in air masses of continental and urban origins. For some species PM1-fractions in marine air were significantly larger than in air masses originating from Huelva, a closely located city with extensive industrial activities. The largest fraction of sulfate (54%) was detected in marine air masses and was to a high degree not neutralized. In addition, small concentrations of methanesulfonic acid (MSA), a product of biogenic dimethyl sulfate (DMS) emissions, could be identified in the particle phase.

In all air masses passing the continent the organic aerosol fraction dominated the total NR-PM1. For this reason, using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) four organic aerosol (OA) classes that can be associated with various aerosol sources and components were identified: a highly-oxygenated OA is the major component (43% OA) while semi-volatile OA accounts for 23%. A hydrocarbon-like OA mainly resulting from industries, traffic and shipping emissions as well as particles from wood burning emissions also contribute to total OA and depend on the air mass origin.

A significant variability of ozone was observed that depends on the impact of different air mass types and solar radiation.

Final-revised paper