Sources and geographical origins of fine aerosols in Paris (France)

Bressi, M.; Sciare, J.; Ghersi, V.; Mihalopoulos, N.; Petit, J.-E.; Nicolas, J. B.; Moukhtar, S.; Rosso, A.; Féron, A.; Bonnaire, N.; Poulakis, E.; Theodosi, C.

The present study aims at identifying and apportioning fine aerosols to their major sources in Paris (France) – the second most populated "larger urban zone" in Europe – and determining their geographical origins. It is based on the daily chemical composition of PM 2.5 examined over 1 year at an urban background site of Paris (Bressi et al., 2013). Positive matrix factorization (EPA PMF3.0) was used to identify and apportion fine aerosols to their sources; bootstrapping was performed to determine the adequate number of PMF factors, and statistics (root mean square error, coefficient of determination, etc.) were examined to better model PM 2.5 mass and chemical components. Potential source contribution function (PSCF) and conditional probability function (CPF) allowed the geographical origins of the sources to be assessed; special attention was paid to implement suitable weighting functions. Seven factors, namely ammonium sulfate (A.S.)-rich factor, ammonium nitrate (A.N.)-rich factor, heavy oil combustion, road traffic, biomass burning, marine aerosols and metal industry, were identified; a detailed discussion of their chemical characteristics is reported. They contribute 27, 24, 17, 14, 12, 6 and 1% of PM 2.5 mass (14.7 μg m −3) respectively on the annual average; their seasonal variability is discussed. The A.S.- and A.N.-rich factors have undergone mid- or long-range transport from continental Europe; heavy oil combustion mainly stems from northern France and the English Channel, whereas road traffic and biomass burning are primarily locally emitted. Therefore, on average more than half of PM 2.5 mass measured in the city of Paris is due to mid- or long-range transport of secondary aerosols stemming from continental Europe, whereas local sources only contribute a quarter of the annual averaged mass. These results imply that fine-aerosol abatement policies conducted at the local scale may not be sufficient to notably reduce PM 2.5 levels at urban background sites in Paris, suggesting instead more coordinated strategies amongst neighbouring countries. Similar conclusions might be drawn in other continental urban background sites given the transboundary nature of PM 2.5 pollution.



Bressi, M. / Sciare, J. / Ghersi, V. / et al: Sources and geographical origins of fine aerosols in Paris (France). 2014. Copernicus Publications.


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