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  • 2015-2019  (13)
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-11-27
    Description: The neodymium isotope proxy has become a valuable tool for the reconstruction of past ocean water mass provenance and mixing. For its accurate application, knowledge about the origin and preservation of Nd in sedimentary archives is crucial. Recently, concerns have emerged regarding the applicability of neodymium isotopes as a conservative palaeo water mass tracer, given potential Nd fluxes from sediments into bottom waters (Abbott et al., 2015a) and inferred relabelling of ocean waters by settling detrital material (Roberts and Piotrowski, 2015). Consequently, a decoupling of water mass provenance and proxy variations may arise. We investigate the mobility of Nd around extreme detrital sedimentation events such as glacial ice rafting pulses and turbidite deposition in the Northeast Atlantic. The constructed records from sediment leachates span extreme Nd isotope variations including volcanic (εNd ∼ 0) and Laurentian (εNd ∼ −27) sources. We find that Nd was released into pore waters from reactive detritus inside some detrital layers during early diagenesis, thereby overprinting any archived bottom water Nd signature and precluding the reconstruction of past water mass provenance during the affected time intervals. However, we do not observe any definite indication of diffusive vertical migration of Nd into adjacent layers. Furthermore, bottom water Nd isotope signatures were not modified to a measurable degree by any potential benthic flux of Nd during the deposition of these detrital sediment layers. Consequently, the Nd isotope composition of the pelagic glacial Northeast Atlantic water masses were resilient to such episodic large detrital fluxes. Apart from extreme local sedimentation events, we confirm the presence of detritally overprinted deep waters north of 47°N during the peak glacial from comparison of Northeast Atlantic depth transects. We furthermore suggest that the sensitivity of deep waters to this overprinting effect increased during periods of reduced Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and elevated ice rafting. Overall, our study demonstrates that a thorough evaluation of the proportion of Nd originating from physical water mass advection versus in situ chemical inputs is crucial for the reliable application of Nd isotopes as a water mass tracer.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2015-02-06
    Description: During winter 2013, extremely high concentrations (i.e., 4–20 times higher than the World Health Organization guideline) of PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter 〈 2.5 μm) mass concentrations (24 h samples) were found in four major cities in China including Xi'an, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Statistical analysis of a combined data set from elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC), 14C and biomass-burning marker measurements using Latin hypercube sampling allowed a quantitative source apportionment of carbonaceous aerosols. Based on 14C measurements of EC fractions (six samples each city), we found that fossil emissions from coal combustion and vehicle exhaust dominated EC with a mean contribution of 75 ± 8% across all sites. The remaining 25 ± 8% was exclusively attributed to biomass combustion, consistent with the measurements of biomass-burning markers such as anhydrosugars (levoglucosan and mannosan) and water-soluble potassium (K+). With a combination of the levoglucosan-to-mannosan and levoglucosan-to-K+ ratios, the major source of biomass burning in winter in China is suggested to be combustion of crop residues. The contribution of fossil sources to OC was highest in Beijing (58 ± 5%) and decreased from Shanghai (49 ± 2%) to Xi'an (38 ± 3%) and Guangzhou (35 ± 7%). Generally, a larger fraction of fossil OC was from secondary origins than primary sources for all sites. Non-fossil sources accounted on average for 55 ± 10 and 48 ± 9% of OC and total carbon (TC), respectively, which suggests that non-fossil emissions were very important contributors of urban carbonaceous aerosols in China. The primary biomass-burning emissions accounted for 40 ± 8, 48 ± 18, 53 ± 4 and 65 ± 26% of non-fossil OC for Xi'an, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, respectively. Other non-fossil sources excluding primary biomass burning were mainly attributed to formation of secondary organic carbon (SOC) from non-fossil precursors such as biomass-burning emissions. For each site, we also compared samples from moderately to heavily polluted days according to particulate matter mass. Despite a significant increase of the absolute mass concentrations of primary emissions from both fossil and non-fossil sources during the heavily polluted events, their relative contribution to TC was even decreased, whereas the portion of SOC was consistently increased at all sites. This observation indicates that SOC was an important fraction in the increment of carbonaceous aerosols during the haze episode in China.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2015-12-14
    Description: Fine carbonaceous aerosols (CAs) is the key factor influencing the currently filthy air in megacities of China, yet seldom study simultaneously focuses on the origins of different CAs species using specific and powerful source tracers. Here, we present a detailed source apportionment for various CAs fractions, including organic carbon (OC), water-soluble OC (WSOC), water-insoluble OC (WIOC), elemental carbon (EC) and secondary OC (SOC) in the largest cities of North (Beijing, BJ) and South China (Guangzhou, GZ), respectively, using the measurements of radiocarbon and anhydrosugars. Results show that non-fossil fuel sources such as biomass burning and biogenic emission make a significant contribution to the total CAs in Chinese megacities: 56 ± 4 % in BJ and 46 ± 5 % in GZ, respectively. The relative contributions of primary fossil carbon from coal and liquid petroleum combustions, primary non-fossil carbon and secondary organic carbon (SOC) to total carbon are 19, 28 and 54 % in BJ, and 40, 15 and 46 % in GZ, respectively. Non-fossil fuel sources account for 52 % in BJ and 71 % in GZ of SOC, respectively. These results suggest that biomass burning has a greater influence on regional particulate air pollution in North China than in South China. We observed an unabridged haze bloom–decay process in South China, which illustrates that both primary and secondary matter from fossil sources played a key role in the blooming phase of the pollution episode, while haze phase is predominantly driven by fossil-derived secondary organic matter and nitrate.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2015-08-27
    Description: A detailed characterization of air quality in the megacity of Paris (France) during two 1-month intensive campaigns and from additional 1-year observations revealed that about 70 % of the urban background fine particulate matter (PM) is transported on average into the megacity from upwind regions. This dominant influence of regional sources was confirmed by in situ measurements during short intensive and longer-term campaigns, aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements from ENVISAT, and modeling results from PMCAMx and CHIMERE chemistry transport models. While advection of sulfate is well documented for other megacities, there was surprisingly high contribution from long-range transport for both nitrate and organic aerosol. The origin of organic PM was investigated by comprehensive analysis of aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS), radiocarbon and tracer measurements during two intensive campaigns. Primary fossil fuel combustion emissions constituted less than 20 % in winter and 40 % in summer of carbonaceous fine PM, unexpectedly small for a megacity. Cooking activities and, during winter, residential wood burning are the major primary organic PM sources. This analysis suggests that the major part of secondary organic aerosol is of modern origin, i.e., from biogenic precursors and from wood burning. Black carbon concentrations are on the lower end of values encountered in megacities worldwide, but still represent an issue for air quality. These comparatively low air pollution levels are due to a combination of low emissions per inhabitant, flat terrain, and a meteorology that is in general not conducive to local pollution build-up. This revised picture of a megacity only being partially responsible for its own average and peak PM levels has important implications for air pollution regulation policies.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2015-05-26
    Description: Four different literature parameterizations for the formation and evolution of urban secondary organic aerosol (SOA) frequently used in 3-D models are evaluated using a 0-D box model representing the Los Angeles metropolitan region during the California Research at the Nexus of Air Quality and Climate Change (CalNex) 2010 campaign. We constrain the model predictions with measurements from several platforms and compare predictions with particle- and gas-phase observations from the CalNex Pasadena ground site. That site provides a unique opportunity to study aerosol formation close to anthropogenic emission sources with limited recirculation. The model SOA that formed only from the oxidation of VOCs (V-SOA) is insufficient to explain the observed SOA concentrations, even when using SOA parameterizations with multi-generation oxidation that produce much higher yields than have been observed in chamber experiments, or when increasing yields to their upper limit estimates accounting for recently reported losses of vapors to chamber walls. The Community Multiscale Air Quality (WRF-CMAQ) model (version 5.0.1) provides excellent predictions of secondary inorganic particle species but underestimates the observed SOA mass by a factor of 25 when an older VOC-only parameterization is used, which is consistent with many previous model–measurement comparisons for pre-2007 anthropogenic SOA modules in urban areas. Including SOA from primary semi-volatile and intermediate-volatility organic compounds (P-S/IVOCs) following the parameterizations of Robinson et al. (2007), Grieshop et al. (2009), or Pye and Seinfeld (2010) improves model–measurement agreement for mass concentration. The results from the three parameterizations show large differences (e.g., a factor of 3 in SOA mass) and are not well constrained, underscoring the current uncertainties in this area. Our results strongly suggest that other precursors besides VOCs, such as P-S/IVOCs, are needed to explain the observed SOA concentrations in Pasadena. All the recent parameterizations overpredict urban SOA formation at long photochemical ages (≈ 3 days) compared to observations from multiple sites, which can lead to problems in regional and especially global modeling. However, reducing IVOC emissions by one-half in the model to better match recent IVOC measurements improves SOA predictions at these long photochemical ages. Among the explicitly modeled VOCs, the precursor compounds that contribute the greatest SOA mass are methylbenzenes. Measured polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (naphthalenes) contribute 0.7% of the modeled SOA mass. The amounts of SOA mass from diesel vehicles, gasoline vehicles, and cooking emissions are estimated to be 16–27, 35–61, and 19–35%, respectively, depending on the parameterization used, which is consistent with the observed fossil fraction of urban SOA, 71(±3) %. The relative contribution of each source is uncertain by almost a factor of 2 depending on the parameterization used. In-basin biogenic VOCs are predicted to contribute only a few percent to SOA. A regional SOA background of approximately 2.1 μg m−3 is also present due to the long-distance transport of highly aged OA, likely with a substantial contribution from regional biogenic SOA. The percentage of SOA from diesel vehicle emissions is the same, within the estimated uncertainty, as reported in previous work that analyzed the weekly cycles in OA concentrations (Bahreini et al., 2012; Hayes et al., 2013). However, the modeling work presented here suggests a strong anthropogenic source of modern carbon in SOA, due to cooking emissions, which was not accounted for in those previous studies and which is higher on weekends. Lastly, this work adapts a simple two-parameter model to predict SOA concentration and O/C from urban emissions. This model successfully predicts SOA concentration, and the optimal parameter combination is very similar to that found for Mexico City. This approach provides a computationally inexpensive method for predicting urban SOA in global and climate models. We estimate pollution SOA to account for 26 Tg yr−1 of SOA globally, or 17% of global SOA, one-third of which is likely to be non-fossil.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2015-04-22
    Description: Aerosol source apportionment remains a critical challenge for understanding the transport and aging of aerosols, as well as for developing successful air pollution mitigation strategies. The contributions of fossil and non-fossil sources to organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in carbonaceous aerosols can be quantified by measuring the radiocarbon (14C) content of each carbon fraction. However, the use of 14C in studying OC and EC has been limited by technical challenges related to the physical separation of the two fractions and small sample sizes. There is no common procedure for OC/EC 14C analysis, and uncertainty studies have largely focused on the precision of yields. Here, we quantified the uncertainty in 14C measurement of aerosols associated with the isolation and analysis of each carbon fraction with the Swiss_4S thermal-optical analysis (TOA) protocol. We used an OC/EC analyzer (Sunset Laboratory Inc., OR, USA) coupled to vacuum line to separate the two components. Each fraction was thermally desorbed and converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) in pure oxygen (O2). On average 91% of the evolving CO2 was then cryogenically trapped on the vacuum line, reduced to filamentous graphite, and measured for its 14C content via accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). To test the accuracy of our set-up, we quantified the total amount of extraneous carbon introduced during the TOA sample processing and graphitization as the sum of modern and fossil (14C-depleted) carbon introduced during the analysis of fossil reference materials (adipic acid for OC and coal for EC) and contemporary standards (oxalic acid for OC and rice char for EC) as a function of sample size. We further tested our methodology by analyzing five ambient airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) samples with a range of OC and EC concentrations and 14C contents in an interlaboratory comparison. The total modern and fossil carbon blanks of our set-up were 0.8 ± 0.4 and 0.67 ± 0.34 μg C, respectively, based on multiple measurements of ultra-small samples. The Swiss_4S protocol and the cryo-trapping contributed 0.37 ± 0.18 μg of modern carbon and 0.13 ± 0.07 μg of fossil carbon to the estimated blanks, with consistent estimates obtained for the two laboratories. There was no difference in the background correction between the OC and EC fractions. Our set-up allowed us to efficiently isolate and trap each carbon fraction with the Swiss_4S protocol and to perform 14C analysis of ultra-small OC and EC samples with high accuracy and low 14C blanks.
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8610
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2015-03-20
    Description: Determining the contribution of wood smoke to air pollution in large cities such as London is becoming increasingly important due to the changing nature of domestic heating in urban areas. During winter, biomass burning emissions have been identified as a major cause of exceedances of European air quality limits. The aim of this work was to quantify the contribution of biomass burning in London to concentrations of PM2.5 and determine whether local emissions or regional contributions were the main source of biomass smoke. To achieve this, a number of biomass burning chemical tracers were analysed at a site within central London and two sites in surrounding rural areas. Concentrations of levoglucosan, elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC) and K+ were generally well correlated across the three sites. At all the sites, biomass burning was found to be a source of OC and EC, with the largest contribution of EC from traffic emissions, while for OC the dominant fraction included contributions from secondary organic aerosols, primary biogenic and cooking sources. Source apportionment of the EC and OC was found to give reasonable estimation of the total carbon from non-fossil and fossil fuel sources based upon comparison with estimates derived from 14C analysis. Aethalometer-derived black carbon data were also apportioned into the contributions from biomass burning and traffic and showed trends similar to those observed for EC. Mean wood smoke mass at the sites was estimated to range from 0.78 to 1.0 μg m−3 during the campaign in January–February 2012. Measurements on a 160 m tower in London suggested a similar ratio of brown to black carbon (reflecting wood burning and traffic respectively) in regional and London air. Peaks in the levoglucosan and K+ concentrations were observed to coincide with low ambient temperature, consistent with domestic heating as a major contributing local source in London. Overall, the source of biomass smoke in London was concluded to be a background regional source overlaid by contributions from local domestic burning emissions. This could have implications when considering future emission control strategies during winter and may be the focus of future work in order to better determine the contributing local sources.
    Print ISSN: 1680-7316
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7324
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2015-09-16
    Description: Aerosol source apportionment remains a critical challenge for understanding the transport and aging of aerosols, as well as for developing successful air pollution mitigation strategies. The contributions of fossil and non-fossil sources to organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in carbonaceous aerosols can be quantified by measuring the radiocarbon (14C) content of each carbon fraction. However, the use of 14C in studying OC and EC has been limited by technical challenges related to the physical separation of the two fractions and small sample sizes. There is no common procedure for OC/EC 14C analysis, and uncertainty studies have largely focused on the precision of yields. Here, we quantified the uncertainty in 14C measurement of aerosols associated with the isolation and analysis of each carbon fraction with the Swiss_4S thermal–optical analysis (TOA) protocol. We used an OC/EC analyzer (Sunset Laboratory Inc., OR, USA) coupled to a vacuum line to separate the two components. Each fraction was thermally desorbed and converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) in pure oxygen (O2). On average, 91 % of the evolving CO2 was then cryogenically trapped on the vacuum line, reduced to filamentous graphite, and measured for its 14C content via accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). To test the accuracy of our setup, we quantified the total amount of extraneous carbon introduced during the TOA sample processing and graphitization as the sum of modern and fossil (14C-depleted) carbon introduced during the analysis of fossil reference materials (adipic acid for OC and coal for EC) and contemporary standards (oxalic acid for OC and rice char for EC) as a function of sample size. We further tested our methodology by analyzing five ambient airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) samples with a range of OC and EC concentrations and 14C contents in an interlaboratory comparison. The total modern and fossil carbon blanks of our setup were 0.8 ± 0.4 and 0.67 ± 0.34 μg C, respectively, based on multiple measurements of ultra-small samples. The extraction procedure (Swiss_4S protocol and cryo-trapping only) contributed 0.37 ± 0.18 μg of modern carbon and 0.13 ± 0.07 μg of fossil carbon to the total blank of our system, with consistent estimates obtained for the two laboratories. There was no difference in the background correction between the OC and EC fractions. Our setup allowed us to efficiently isolate and trap each carbon fraction with the Swiss_4S protocol and to perform 14C analysis of ultra-small OC and EC samples with high accuracy and low 14C blanks.
    Print ISSN: 1867-1381
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8548
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2015-03-23
    Description: A detailed characterization of air quality in Paris (France), a megacity of more than 10 million inhabitants, during two one month intensive campaigns and from additional one year observations, revealed that about 70% of the fine particulate matter (PM) at urban background is transported on average into the megacity from upwind regions. This dominant influence of regional sources was confirmed by in-situ measurements during short intensive and longer term campaigns, aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements from ENVISAT, and modeling results from PMCAMx and CHIMERE. While advection of sulfate is well documented for other megacities, there was surprisingly high contribution from long-range transport for both nitrate and organic aerosol. The origin of organic PM was investigated by a comprehensive analysis of aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS), radiocarbon and tracer measurements during two intensive campaigns. Primary fossil fuel combustion emissions contributed less than 20% in winter and 40% in summer to carbonaceous fine PM, unexpectedly little for a megacity. Cooking activities and, during winter, residential wood burning are the major primary organic PM sources. This analysis suggests that the major part of secondary organic aerosol is of modern origin, i.e. from biogenic precursors and from wood burning. Black carbon concentrations are on the lower end of values encountered in megacities worldwide, but still represent an issue for air quality. These comparatively low air pollution levels are due to a combination of low emissions per inhabitant, flat terrain, and a meteorology that is in general not conducive to local pollution build-up. This revised picture of a megacity only controlling part of its own average and peak PM levels has important implications for air pollution regulation policies.
    Electronic ISSN: 1680-7375
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2015-08-11
    Description: Field deployments of the Aerodyne Aerosol Mass Spectrometer (AMS) have significantly advanced real-time measurements and source apportionment of non-refractory particulate matter. However, the cost and complex maintenance requirements of the AMS make impractical its deployment at sufficient sites to determine regional characteristics. Furthermore, the negligible transmission efficiency of the AMS inlet for supermicron particles significantly limits the characterization of their chemical nature and contributing sources. In this study, we utilize the AMS to characterize the water-soluble organic fingerprint of ambient particles collected onto conventional quartz filters, which are routinely sampled at many air quality sites. The method was applied to 256 particulate matter (PM) filter samples (PM1, PM2.5, PM10) collected at 16 urban and rural sites during summer and winter. We show that the results obtained by the present technique compare well with those from co-located online measurements, e.g. AMS or Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM). The bulk recoveries of organic aerosol (60–91 %) achieved using this technique, together with low detection limits (0.8 μg of organic aerosol on the analyzed filter fraction) allow its application to environmental samples. We will discuss the recovery variability of individual hydrocarbon, oxygen containing and other ions. The performance of such data in source apportionment is assessed in comparison to ACSM data. Recoveries of organic components related to different sources as traffic, wood burning and secondary organic aerosol are presented. This technique, while subjected to the limitations inherent to filter-based measurements (e.g. filter artifacts and limited time resolution) may be used to enhance the AMS capabilities in measuring size-fractionated, spatially-resolved long-term datasets.
    Electronic ISSN: 1867-8610
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Copernicus on behalf of European Geosciences Union (EGU).
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