Articles | Volume 6, issue 12
12 Oct 2006
12 Oct 2006

Aerosol composition and source apportionment in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area with PIXE/PESA/STIM and multivariate analysis

K. S. Johnson, B. de Foy, B. Zuberi, L. T. Molina, M. J. Molina, Y. Xie, A. Laskin, and V. Shutthanandan

Abstract. Aerosols play an important role in the atmosphere but are poorly characterized, particularly in urban areas like the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA). The chemical composition of urban particles must be known to assess their effects on the environment, and specific particulate emissions sources should be identified to establish effective pollution control standards. For these reasons, samples of particulate matter ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5) were collected during the MCMA-2003 Field Campaign for elemental and multivariate analyses. Proton-Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE), Proton-Elastic Scattering Analysis (PESA) and Scanning Transmission Ion Microscopy (STIM) measurements were done to determine concentrations of 19 elements from Na to Pb, hydrogen, and total mass, respectively. The most abundant elements from PIXE analysis were S, Si, K, Fe, Ca, and Al, while the major emissions sources associated with these elements were industry, wind-blown soil, and biomass burning. Wind trajectories suggest that metals associated with industrial emissions came from northern areas of the city whereas soil aerosols came from the southwest and increased in concentration during dry conditions. Elemental markers for fuel oil combustion, V and Ni, correlated with a large SO2 plume to suggest an anthropogenic, rather than volcanic, emissions source. By subtracting major components of soil and sulfates determined by PIXE analysis from STIM total mass measurements, we estimate that approximately 50% of non-volatile PM2.5 consisted of carbonaceous material.

Final-revised paper