Articles | Volume 14, issue 8
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 3913–3928, 2014
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 14, 3913–3928, 2014

Research article 17 Apr 2014

Research article | 17 Apr 2014

On the abundance and source contributions of dicarboxylic acids in size-resolved aerosol particles at continental sites in central Europe

D. van Pinxteren1, C. Neusüß2, and H. Herrmann1 D. van Pinxteren et al.
  • 1Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung (TROPOS), Permoserstr. 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2Hochschule Aalen, Beethovenstr. 1, 73430 Aalen, Germany

Abstract. Dicarboxylic acids (DCAs) are among the most abundant organic compounds observed in atmospheric aerosol particles and have been extensively studied at many places around the world. The importance of the various primary sources and secondary formation pathways discussed in the literature is often difficult to assess from field studies, though. In the present study, a large data set of size-resolved DCA concentrations from several inland sites in Germany is combined with results from a recently developed approach of statistical back-trajectory analysis and additional data. Principal component analysis is then used to reveal the most important factors governing the abundance of DCAs in different particle size ranges. The two most important sources revealed are (i) photochemical formation during intense radiation days in polluted air masses, likely occurring in the gas phase on short timescales (gasSOA), and (ii) secondary reactions in anthropogenically influenced air masses, likely occurring in the aqueous phase on longer timescales (aqSOA). While the first source strongly impacts DCA concentrations mainly in small and large particles, the second one enhances accumulation mode DCAs and is responsible for the bulk of the observed concentrations. Primary sources were found to be minor (sea salt, soil resuspension) or non-existent (biomass burning, traffic). The results can be regarded as representative for typical central European continental conditions.

Final-revised paper