Articles | Volume 14, issue 22
Research article
18 Nov 2014
Research article |  | 18 Nov 2014

Spatial and temporal variability of sources of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in California

S. Hasheminassab, N. Daher, A. Saffari, D. Wang, B. D. Ostro, and C. Sioutas

Abstract. To identify major sources of ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5, dp < 2.5 μm) and quantify their contributions in the state of California, a positive matrix factorization (PMF) receptor model was applied on Speciation Trends Network (STN) data, collected between 2002 and 2007 at eight distinct sampling locations, including El Cajon, Rubidoux, Los Angeles, Simi Valley, Bakersfield, Fresno, San Jose, and Sacramento. Between five to nine sources of fine PM were identified at each sampling site, several of which were common among multiple locations. Secondary aerosols, including secondary ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate, were the most abundant contributor to ambient PM2.5 mass at all sampling sites, except for San Jose, with an annual average cumulative contribution of 26 to 63%, across the state. On an annual average basis, vehicular emissions (including both diesel and gasoline vehicles) were the largest primary source of fine PM at all sampling sites in southern California (17–18% of total mass), whereas in Fresno and San Jose, biomass burning was the most dominant primary contributor to ambient PM2.5 (27 and 35% of total mass, respectively), in general agreement with the results of previous source apportionment studies in California. In Bakersfield and Sacramento, vehicular emissions and biomass burning displayed relatively equal annual contributions to ambient PM2.5 mass (12 and 25%, respectively). Other commonly identified sources at all sites included aged and fresh sea salt and soil, which contributed to 0.5–13%, 2–27%, and 1–19% of the total mass, respectively, across all sites and seasons. In addition, a few minor sources were identified exclusively at some of the sites (e.g., chlorine sources, sulfate-bearing road dust, and different types of industrial emissions). These sources overall accounted for a small fraction of the total PM mass across the sampling locations (1 to 15%, on an annual average basis).

Short summary
Ambient PM2.5 in California originates from a large number of diverse sources. These sources show distinct spatial and temporal variability throughout the state. Secondary aerosols are generally the most abundant contributor to ambient PM2.5 mass, while vehicular emissions and biomass burning are the main primary sources of ambient PM2.5 in California.
Final-revised paper