Articles | Volume 12, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6113–6128, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6113–6128, 2012

Research article 16 Jul 2012

Research article | 16 Jul 2012

Organic molecular markers and signature from wood combustion particles in winter ambient aerosols: aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) and high time-resolved GC-MS measurements in Augsburg, Germany

M. Elsasser2,1, M. Crippa3, J. Orasche4,1, P. F. DeCarlo3,*, M. Oster2,1, M. Pitz6,5, J. Cyrys6,5, T. L. Gustafson7, J. B. C. Pettersson7, J. Schnelle-Kreis1, A. S. H. Prévôt3, and R. Zimmermann2,1 M. Elsasser et al.
  • 1Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Cooperation Group Comprehensive Molecular Analytics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
  • 2Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Universität Rostock, Institut für Chemie, Lehrstuhl für Analytische Chemie, Dr.-Lorenz-Weg 1, 18059 Rostock, Germany
  • 3Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen PSI, Switzerland
  • 4Department of Sedimentology & Environmental Geology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
  • 5Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health, Institute of Epidemiology II, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
  • 6University of Augsburg, Environment Science Center, 86159 Augsburg, Germany
  • 7Department of Chemistry, University of Gothenburg, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • *now at: Department of Civil Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University, 19104 Philadelphia, PA, USA

Abstract. The impact of wood combustion on ambient aerosols was investigated in Augsburg, Germany during a winter measurement campaign of a six-week period. Special attention was paid to the high time resolution observations of wood combustion with different mass spectrometric methods. Here we present and compare the results from an Aerodyne aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) and gas chromatographic – mass spectrometric (GC-MS) analysed PM1 filters on an hourly basis. This includes source apportionment of the AMS derived organic matter (OM) using positive matrix factorisation (PMF) and analysis of levoglucosan as wood combustion marker, respectively.

During the measurement period nitrate and OM mass are the main contributors to the defined submicron particle mass of AMS and Aethalometer with 28% and 35%, respectively. Wood combustion organic aerosol (WCOA) contributes to OM with 23% on average and 27% in the evening and night time. Conclusively, wood combustion has a strong influence on the organic matter and overall aerosol composition. Levoglucosan accounts for 14% of WCOA mass with a higher percentage in comparison to other studies. The ratio between the mass of levoglucosan and organic carbon amounts to 0.06.

This study is unique in that it provides a one-hour time resolution comparison between the wood combustion results of the AMS and the GC-MS analysed filter method at a PM1 particle size range. The comparison of the concentration variation with time of the PMF WCOA factor, levoglucosan estimated by the AMS data and the levoglucosan measured by GC-MS is highly correlated (R2 = 0.84), and a detailed discussion on the contributors to the wood combustion marker ion at mass-to-charge ratio 60 is given. At the end, both estimations, the WCOA factor and the levoglucosan concentration estimated by AMS data, allow to observe the variation with time of wood combustion emissions (gradient correlation with GC-MS levoglucosan of R2 = 0.84). In the case of WCOA, it provides the estimated magnitude of wood combustion emission. Quantitative estimation of the levoglucosan concentration from the AMS data is problematic due to its overestimation in comparison to the levoglucosan measured by the GC-MS.

Final-revised paper