Fossil and non-fossil source contributions to atmospheric carbonaceous aerosols during extreme spring grassland fires in Eastern Europe
- 1Department of Environmental Research, SRI Center for Physical Sciences and Technology, Vilnius, 10222, Lithuania
- 2Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), Villigen, 5232, Switzerland
- 3Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health (GmbH), Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Cooperation Group Comprehensive Molecular Analytics and Helmholtz Virtual Institute of Complex Molecular Systems in Environmental Health – Aerosol and Health (HICE), Neuherberg, 85764, Germany
- 4Analytical Chemistry & Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Institute of Chemistry, University of Rostock, Dr.-Lorenz-Weg 1, Rostock, 18051, Germany
- 5Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry & Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Bern, 3012, Switzerland
- 6Laboratory of Radiochemistry, PSI, Villigen, 5232, Switzerland
Abstract. In early spring the Baltic region is frequently affected by high-pollution events due to biomass burning in that area. Here we present a comprehensive study to investigate the impact of biomass/grass burning (BB) on the evolution and composition of aerosol in Preila, Lithuania, during springtime open fires. Non-refractory submicron particulate matter (NR-PM1) was measured by an Aerodyne aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM) and a source apportionment with the multilinear engine (ME-2) running the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model was applied to the organic aerosol fraction to investigate the impact of biomass/grass burning. Satellite observations over regions of biomass burning activity supported the results and identification of air mass transport to the area of investigation. Sharp increases in biomass burning tracers, such as levoglucosan up to 683 ng m−3 and black carbon (BC) up to 17 µg m−3 were observed during this period. A further separation between fossil and non-fossil primary and secondary contributions was obtained by coupling ACSM PMF results and radiocarbon (14C) measurements of the elemental (EC) and organic (OC) carbon fractions. Non-fossil organic carbon (OCnf) was the dominant fraction of PM1, with the primary (POCnf) and secondary (SOCnf) fractions contributing 26–44 % and 13–23 % to the total carbon (TC), respectively. 5–8 % of the TC had a primary fossil origin (POCf), whereas the contribution of fossil secondary organic carbon (SOCf) was 4–13 %. Non-fossil EC (ECnf) and fossil EC (ECf) ranged from 13–24 and 7–13 %, respectively. Isotope ratios of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes were used to distinguish aerosol particles associated with solid and liquid fossil fuel burning.