Composition and mass size distribution of nitrated and oxygenated aromatic compounds in ambient particulate matter from southern and central Europe – implications for the origin

Kitanovski, Zoran; Shahpoury, Pourya; Samara, Constantini; Voliotis, Aristeidis; Lammel, Gerhard

Nitro-monoaromatic hydrocarbons (NMAHs), such as nitrocatechols, nitrophenols and nitrosalicylic acids, are important constituents of atmospheric particulate matter (PM) water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) and humic-like substances (HULIS). Nitrated and oxygenated derivatives of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (NPAHs and OPAHs) are toxic and ubiquitous in the ambient air; due to their light absorption properties, together with NMAHs, they are part of aerosol brown carbon (BrC). We investigated the winter concentrations of these substance classes in size-resolved PM from two urban sites in central and southern Europe, i.e. Mainz (MZ), Germany, and Thessaloniki (TK), Greece. The total concentration of 11 NMAHs (inline-formula∑11NMAH concentrations) measured in PMinline-formula10 and total PM were 0.51–8.38 and 12.1–72.1 ng minline-formula−3 at the MZ and TK sites, respectively, whereas inline-formula∑7OPAHs were 47–1636 and 858–4306 pg minline-formula−3, and inline-formula∑8NPAHs were inline-formula≤90 and 76–578 pg minline-formula−3, respectively. NMAHs contributed 0.4 % and 1.8 % to the HULIS mass at MZ and TK, respectively. The mass size distributions of the individual substances generally peaked in the smallest or second smallest size fraction i.e. inline-formula<0.49 or 0.49–0.95 inline-formulaµm. The mass median diameter (MMD) of NMAHs was 0.10 and 0.27 inline-formulaµm at MZ and TK, respectively, while the MMDs of NPAHs and OPAHs were both 0.06 inline-formulaµm at MZ and 0.12 and 0.10 inline-formulaµm at TK. Correlation analysis between NMAHs, NPAHs, and OPAHs from one side and WSOC, HULIS, sulfate, and potassium from the other suggested that fresh biomass burning (BB) and fossil fuel combustion emissions dominated at the TK site, while aged air masses were predominant at the MZ site.

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Kitanovski, Zoran / Shahpoury, Pourya / Samara, Constantini / et al: Composition and mass size distribution of nitrated and oxygenated aromatic compounds in ambient particulate matter from southern and central Europe – implications for the origin. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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