Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-869
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-869

  25 Oct 2021

25 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

The impact of temperature inversions on black carbon and particle mass concentrations in a mountainous area

Kristina Glojek1, Griša Močnik2,7, Honey Dawn C. Alas3, Andrea Cuesta-Mosquera3, Luka Drinovec2,7, Asta Gregorič4,7, Matej Ogrin1, Kay Weinhold3, Irena Ježek4, Thomas Müller3, Martin Rigler4, Maja Remškar2, Dominik van Pinxteren3, Hartmut Herrmann3, Martina Ristorini5, Maik Merkel3, Miha Markelj6, and Alfred Wiedensohler3 Kristina Glojek et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia
  • 2Department of Condensed Matter Physics, Jozef Stefan Institute, Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia
  • 3Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, 04318, Germany
  • 4Aerosol d.o.o., Ljubljana, 1000, Slovenia
  • 5Department of Bioscience and Territory, University of Molise, Pesche, 86090, Italy
  • 6Škovine 4, Žlezniki, 4228, Slovenia
  • 7Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Nova Gorica, Ajdovščina, 5270, Slovenia

Abstract. Residential wood combustion is a widespread practice in Europe with a serious impact on air quality, especially in mountainous areas. While there is a significant number of studies conducted in deep urbanized valleys and basins, little is known about the air pollution processes in rural shallow hollows where around 30 % of the people in mountainous areas across Europe live. We aim to determine the influence of ground temperature inversions on wood combustion aerosol pollution in hilly, rural areas. The study uses Retje karst hollow (Loški Potok, Slovenia) as representative site for mountainous and hilly rural areas in central and southeastern Europe with residential wood combustion. Sampling with a mobile monitoring platform along the hollow was performed in December 2017 and January 2018. The backpack mobile monitoring platform was used for the determination of equivalent black carbon (eBC) and particulate matter (PM) mass concentrations along the hollow. To assure high quality of mobile measurement data, intercomparisons of mobile instruments with reference instruments were performed at two air quality stations during every run. Our study showed that aerosol pollution events in the relief depression were associated with high local emission intensities originating almost entirely from residential wood burning and shallow temperature inversions (58 m on average). The eBC and PM mass concentrations showed stronger associations with the potential temperature gradient (R2 = 0.8) than with any other meteorological parameters taken into account (ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction and precipitation). The strong association between the potential temperature gradient and pollutant concentrations suggests that even a small number of emission sources (total 243 households in the studied hollow) in similar hilly and mountainous rural areas with frequent temperature inversions can significantly increase the levels of eBC and PM, and deteriorate local air quality. During temperature inversions the measured mean eBC and PM2.5 mass concentrations in the whole hollow were as high as 4.5 ± 2.6 µg m–3 and 48.0 ± 27.7 µg m–3, respectively, which is comparable to larger European urban centres.

Kristina Glojek et al.

Status: open (until 06 Dec 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-869', Anonymous Referee #1, 23 Nov 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on acp-2021-869', Anonymous Referee #2, 25 Nov 2021 reply

Kristina Glojek et al.

Kristina Glojek et al.

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Short summary
A pilot study to determine the emissions of wood burning under »real-world laboratory« conditions was conducted. We found that measured black carbon (eBC) and particulate matter (PM) in rural shallow terrain depressions with residential wood burning could be much greater than predicted by models. The exceeding levels are a cause for concern since similar conditions can be expected in numerous hilly and mountainous regions across Europe where approximately 20 % of the total population lives.
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