Articles | Volume 15, issue 6
Research article
17 Mar 2015
Research article |  | 17 Mar 2015

Two years of near real-time chemical composition of submicron aerosols in the region of Paris using an Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM) and a multi-wavelength Aethalometer

J.-E. Petit, O. Favez, J. Sciare, V. Crenn, R. Sarda-Estève, N. Bonnaire, G. Močnik, J.-C. Dupont, M. Haeffelin, and E. Leoz-Garziandia

Abstract. Aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) measurements have been successfully used towards a better understanding of non-refractory submicron (PM1) aerosol chemical properties based on short-term campaigns. The recently developed Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM) has been designed to deliver quite similar artifact-free chemical information but for low cost, and to perform robust monitoring over long-term periods. When deployed in parallel with real-time black carbon (BC) measurements, the combined data set allows for a quasi-comprehensive description of the whole PM1 fraction in near real time. Here we present 2-year long ACSM and BC data sets, between mid-2011 and mid-2013, obtained at the French atmospheric SIRTA supersite that is representative of background PM levels of the region of Paris. This large data set shows intense and time-limited (a few hours) pollution events observed during wintertime in the region of Paris, pointing to local carbonaceous emissions (mainly combustion sources). A non-parametric wind regression analysis was performed on this 2-year data set for the major PM1 constituents (organic matter, nitrate, sulfate and source apportioned BC) and ammonia in order to better refine their geographical origins and assess local/regional/advected contributions whose information is mandatory for efficient mitigation strategies. While ammonium sulfate typically shows a clear advected pattern, ammonium nitrate partially displays a similar feature, but, less expectedly, it also exhibits a significant contribution of regional and local emissions. The contribution of regional background organic aerosols (OA) is significant in spring and summer, while a more pronounced local origin is evidenced during wintertime, whose pattern is also observed for BC originating from domestic wood burning. Using time-resolved ACSM and BC information, seasonally differentiated weekly diurnal profiles of these constituents were investigated and helped to identify the main parameters controlling their temporal variations (sources, meteorological parameters). Finally, a careful investigation of all the major pollution episodes observed over the region of Paris between 2011 and 2013 was performed and classified in terms of chemical composition and the BC-to-sulfate ratio used here as a proxy of the local/regional/advected contribution of PM. In conclusion, these first 2-year quality-controlled measurements of ACSM clearly demonstrate their great potential to monitor on a long-term basis aerosol sources and their geographical origin and provide strategic information in near real time during pollution episodes. They also support the capacity of the ACSM to be proposed as a robust and credible alternative to filter-based sampling techniques for long-term monitoring strategies.

Final-revised paper