Articles | Volume 14, issue 7
Research article
08 Apr 2014
Research article |  | 08 Apr 2014

Trends of road dust emissions contributions on ambient air particulate levels at rural, urban and industrial sites in southern Spain

F. Amato, A. Alastuey, J. de la Rosa, Y. Gonzalez Castanedo, A. M. Sánchez de la Campa, M. Pandolfi, A. Lozano, J. Contreras González, and X. Querol

Abstract. The impact of road dust emissions on PM10 and PM2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter with diameteer < 10 μm and 2.5 μm mass concentrations recorded from 2003 to 2010 at 11 locations (rural, urban and industrial) in southern Spain was estimated based on the chemical characterization of PM and the use of a constrained Positive Matrix Factorization, where the chemical profile of local road dust samples is used as a priori knowledge. Results indicate that road dust increased PM10 levels on average by 21–35% at traffic sites, 29–34% at urban background sites heavily affected by road traffic emissions, 17–22% at urban-industrial sites and 9–22% at rural sites. Road dust contributions to ambient PM levels show a marked seasonality with maxima in summer and minima in winter, likely due to the rainfall frequency. Decreasing concentration trends over the sampling years were found at some traffic and urban sites but in most cases the decreases were less significant than for vehicle exhaust emissions, while concentrations increased at industrial sites, probably due to local peculiarities. Concerning PM2.5, road dust contributions were lower than in PM10, as expected but still important (21–31%, 11–31%, 6–16% and 7% for traffic, urban background, urban-industrial and rural sites, respectively). In addition the three main sources of road dust (carbonaceous particles, brake wear and road wear/mineral) were identified and their contributions to road dust mass loadings estimated, supporting the idea that air quality managers should drive measures aimed at preventing the build-up of road dust particles on roads.

Final-revised paper