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Particulate air pollution in the heart of the European Union : lessons learned from SAFICA 2017-2018 and SAAERO 2022-2023 projects in Central and Southeast Europe
Katja Džepina, Kristina Glojek, Martin Rigler, Asta Gregorič, Matic Ivančič, Irena Ježek, Griša Močnik, 2024, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Particularly during the cold weather season, countries of the Southeast Europe are experiencing some of the poorest air quality in the world due to the extensive use of solid fuels and old vehicle fleets. The city of Sarajevo is the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) situated within a basin surrounded by mountains. In the winter months (domestic heating season), topography and meteorology cause the pollutants to be trapped within the city basin. Countries of the Southeast Europe lack state-of-the-art atmospheric sciences research and access to sophisticated instrumentation and methodology, despite high levels of ambient pollution and position within the European Union (EU) borders, making it imperative to understand the emission sources, processing and the adverse health effects of atmospheric aerosol pollution.                This presentation will highlight the field measurements in Central and Southeast Europe during the Sarajevo Canton Winter Field Campaign 2017-2018 (SAFICA) and Sarajevo Aerosol Experiment 2022-2023 (SAAERO) projects, centered at the Sarajevo Bjelave supersite. Both projects were envisioned to produce crucial, not previously available information about aerosol emission sources and atmospheric transformations through a combination of online field and offline laboratory measurements. Online measurements during a) SAFICA and b) SAAERO included, a) black carbon, particle number and size distribution, and b) carbonaceous species, elemental composition and bulk chemical composition. SAAERO online measurements also included stationary and mobile measurements of gas- and particle-phase species on board the mobile laboratory in Sarajevo and Zenica, BiH, as well as in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Zagreb, Croatia. Finally, extended SAAERO project included measurements of black carbon at three additional urban centers: Ljubljana, Zagreb, and Belgrade, Serbia, enabling the first comparison of urban air quality in Central and Southeast Europe between two EU and two non-EU capitals. During both projects, laboratory aerosol analyses determined aerosol bulk chemical composition, selected elements (Huremović et al., 2020; Žero et al., 2022) and molecular species (Pehnec et al., 2020). Aerosol chemical composition determined by aerosol mass spectrometry was further analyzed by Positive Matrix Factorization to separate organic aerosol into subtypes characteristic of specific sources and atmospheric processes. Aerosol oxidative potential was also determined to evaluate aerosol ability to generate reactive oxygen species. Sarajevo and Belgrade have high ambient loadings of aerosol and black carbon, indicative of strong and diverse combustion sources and a major public health hazard. Finally, aerosol surface concentrations will be discussed in the context of European air quality. We thank Jasminka Džepina, Magee Scientific/Aerosol, TSI and Aerodyne for support. We acknowledge the contribution of the COST Action CA16109 COLOSSAL and SEE Change Net. KDž and ASHP acknowledge the grant by the Swiss NSF (Scientific Exchanges IZSEZ0_189495), KDž, GM and ASHP European Commission SAAERO grant (EU H2020 MSCA-IF 2020 #101028909), GM Slovenian ARIS grant (P1-0385), SF Croatian HRZZ grant (BiREADI IP-2018-01-3105), and AG, MR, MI, BA and IBJ Slovenian ARIS grant (L1-4386). Pehnec, G., et al., Sci. Tot. Environ., 734, 139414, 2020. Huremović, J., et al., Air Qual. Atmos. Health, 13, 965–976, 2020. Žero, S., Žužul, S., et al., Environ. Sci. Technol., 56, 7052−7062, 2022.
Keywords: air pollution, sources of pollution, PMF
Published in RUNG: 18.03.2024; Views: 557; Downloads: 2
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Optical properties and simple forcing efficiency of the organic aerosols and black carbon emitted by residential wood burning in rural Central Europe
Andrea Cuesta-Mosquera, Kristina Glojek, Griša Močnik, Luka Drinovec, Asta Gregorič, Martin Rigler, Matej Ogrin, Baseerat Romshoo, Kay Weinhold, Maik Merkel, 2024, original scientific article

Abstract: Abstract. Recent years have seen an increase in the use of wood for energy production of over 30 %, and this trend is expected to continue due to the current energy crisis and geopolitical instability. At present, residential wood burning (RWB) is one of the most important sources of organic aerosols (OA) and black carbon (BC). While BC is recognized for its large light absorption cross-section, the role of OA in light absorption is still under evaluation due to their heterogeneous composition and source-dependent optical properties. Studies that characterize wood-burning aerosol emissions in Europe typically focus on urban and background sites and only cover BC properties. However, RWB is more prevalent in rural areas, and the present scenario indicates that an improved understanding of the RWB aerosol optical properties and their subsequent connection to climate impacts is necessary for rural areas. We have characterized atmospheric aerosol particles from a central European rural site during wintertime in the village of Retje in Loški Potok, Slovenia, from 01.12.2017 to 07.03.2018. The village experienced extremely high aerosol concentrations produced by RWB and near-ground temperature inversion. The isolated location of the site and the substantial local emissions made it an ideal laboratory-like place for characterizing RWB aerosols with low influence from non-RWB sources under ambient conditions. The mean mass concentrations of OA and BC were 34.8 µg m-3 (max = 271.8 µg m-3) and 3.1 µg m-3 (max = 24.3 µg m-3), respectively. The mean total particle number concentration (10–600 nm) was 9.9 x 103 particles cm-3 (max = 53.5 x 103 particles cm-3). The mean total light absorption coefficient at 370 nm and 880 nm measured by an Aethalometer AE33 were 122.8 Mm-1 and 15.3 Mm-1 and had maximum values of 1103.9 Mm-1 and 179.1 Mm-1, respectively. The aerosol concentrations and absorption coefficients measured during the campaign in Loški Potok were significantly larger than those reported values for several urban areas in the region with larger populations and extent of aerosol sources. Here, considerable contributions from brown carbon (BrC) to the total light absorption were identified, reaching up to 60 % and 48 % in the near UV (370 nm) and blue (470 nm) wavelengths. These contributions are up to three times higher than values reported for other sites impacted by wood-burning emissions. The calculated mass absorption cross-section and the absorption Ångström exponent for RWB OA were MACOA, 370 nm= 2.4 m2 g-1, and AAEBrC, 370–590 nm= 3.9, respectively. Simple forcing efficiency (SFE) calculations were performed as a sensitivity analysis to evaluate the climate impact of the RWB aerosols produced at the study site by integrating the optical properties measured during the campaign. The SFE results show a considerable forcing capacity from the local RWB aerosols, with a high sensitivity to OA absorption properties and a more substantial impact over bright surfaces like snow, typical during the coldest season with higher OA emissions from RWB. Our study's results are highly significant regarding air pollution, optical properties, and climate impact. The findings suggest that there may be an underestimation of RWB emissions in rural Europe and that further investigation is necessary.
Keywords: wood-burning aerosols, optical characterization, black carbon, rural areas
Published in RUNG: 10.01.2024; Views: 805; Downloads: 6
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Identification and detailed characterization of ▫$PM_10$▫ sources in an Alpine valley influenced by a cement plant
Kristina Glojek, Katja Džepina, Griša Močnik, 2023, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: The contribution of traffic and wood burning to particulate matter (PM) across the Alps is widely recognized and studied (Herich et al., 2014 and references therein; Glojek et al., 2020). However, studies on valleys with cement production are scarce (Kim et al., 2003; Rovira et al., 2018) despite its large PM emissions and potential toxic properties (Erik et al., 2022; Weinbruch et al., 2023). We aim to identify and characterize sources’ contribution to the complex mixture of carbonaceous and mineral PM10 in a representative Alpine valley. Quartz filter samples of PM10 were collected daily from December 2020 to December 2021 and analyzed using different chemical techniques. In the same period equivalent black carbon (eBC) measurements were taken with the Aethalometer AE43. The measured species were analyzed using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) model (EPA PMF 5.0) with newly added tracers, i. e. source-specific eBC (Sandradewi et al., 2008) and organic species (2-MT, 3-MBTCA, phtalic acid, MSA and oxalate). The final PMF results were compared to online PMF-factors (SoFi Pro) derived from PM10 and PM2.5 elemental measurements (Cooper Xact 625i). Ten factors were identified at the site, including commonly detected biomass burning, traffic, nitrate- and sulfate-rich, aged sea salt and mineral dust. With the added additional organic traces, primary biogenic and secondary oxidation were recognized as well. In addition, two unusual factors were disclosed, contributing 10% to annual PM10. Namely, Cl-rich and a mineral dust-rich factor, which we name the cement kiln factor. We associate these two factors to different processes in the cement plant. The outputs of the study provide vital information about the influence of cement production on PM10 concentrations in complex environments and are useful for PM control strategies and actions.
Keywords: PM pollution, carbonaceous aerosols, source apportionment, industry
Published in RUNG: 10.01.2024; Views: 891; Downloads: 0
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The impact of temperature inversions on black carbon and particle mass concentrations in a mountainous area
Kristina Glojek, Griša Močnik, Honey Dawn C. Alas, Andrea Cuesta-Mosquera, Luka Drinovec, Asta Gregorič, Matej Ogrin, Kay Weinhold, Irena Ježek, Martin Rigler, Maja Remškar, Miha Markelj, 2022, original scientific article

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 a representative site for mountainous and hilly rural areas in central and south-eastern 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 ensure 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 and 48.0 ± 27.7 µg m−3, respectively, which is comparable to larger European urban centres.
Keywords: air pollution, black carbon, sources, temperature inversion, mountainous area
Published in RUNG: 03.05.2022; Views: 1588; Downloads: 0
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Hidden black carbon air pollution in hilly rural areas - a case study of Dinaric depression
Kristina Glojek, Asta Gregorič, Griša Močnik, Andrea Cuesta-Mosquera, A. Wiedensohler, Luka Drinovec, Matej Ogrin, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Air pollution is not an exclusively urban problem as wood burning is a widespread practice in rural areas. As we lack information on the air quality situation in rural mountainous regions, our aim is to examine equivalent black carbon (eBC) pollution in a typical rural karst area in the settlement of Loški Potok (Slovenia). eBC mass concentrations were measured by Aethalometer (AE-33) at two sites in Retje karst depression. The rural village station was located at the bottom of the karst depression whereas the rural background station was positioned at the top of the hill. We showthe diurnal variation of equivalent black carbon mass concentrations for different seasons. In the populated karst depression, the major source of eBC pollution are households using wood as a heating fuel reaching the highest mass concentrations in winter. Diurnal pattern of eBC from biomass burning and traffic differ due to different source activity and it is influenced by typical formation of a cold air pool from late afternoon until late morning, restricting the dispersion of local emissions. The large difference in mass concentrations between the lowest part of the village (rural station) and the top of the hill (rural background station) indicates that in a vertically stratified and stable atmosphere local sources of black carbon have a major impact onair quality conditions in the area studied. Since in Alpine and Dinaric regions there are many similar inhabited areas, we can expect similar air quality conditions also in other rural hilly areas with limited self-cleaning air capacity.
Keywords: air pollution, black carbon, hidden geographies, diurnal variation, biomass burning, relief depressions, Loški Potok, Slovenia
Published in RUNG: 04.01.2021; Views: 2552; Downloads: 0
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Performance of microAethalometers: Real-world Field Intercomparisons from Multiple Mobile Measurement Campaigns in Different Atmospheric Environments
Honey Alas, Thomas Mueller, Kay Weinhold, Sascha Pfeifer, Kristina Glojek, Asta Gregorič, Griša Močnik, Luka Drinovec, Francesca Costabile, Martina Ristorini, A. Wiedensohler, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Small aethalometers are frequently used to measure equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentrations in the context of personal exposure and air pollution mapping through mobile measurements (MM). The most widely used is the microAethalometer (AE51). Its performance in the laboratory and field is well documented, however, there is not sufficient data in the context of its performance in different environments. In this investigation, we present the characterization of the performance of the AE51 through field unit-to-unit intercomparisons (IC), and against a reference absorption photometer from three MM campaigns conducted in drastically different environments. Five IC parameters were considered: i) study area, ii) location of IC, iii) time of day, iv) duration of IC, and v) correction for the filter-loading effect. We can conclude that it is crucial where and how long the IC have been performed in terms of the correlation between the mobile and reference instruments. Better correlations (R2 > 0.8, slope = 0.8) are achieved for IC performed in rural, and background areas for more than 10 minutes. In locations with more homogenous atmosphere, the correction of the loading effect improved the correlation between the mobile and reference instruments. In addition, a newer microAethalometer model (MA200) was characterized in the field under extreme cold conditions and correlated against another MA200 (R2 > 0.8, slope ≈ 1.0), AE51(R2 > 0.9, slope ≈ 0.9), and a stationary Aethalometer (AE33) across all wavelengths (R2 > 0.8, slope ≈ 0.7). For MA200, the loading effect was more pronounced, especially at the lower wavelengths, hence the correction of the loading effect is essential to improve the correlation against the AE33. The MA200 and AE51 proved to be robust and dependable portable instruments for MM applications. Real-world quality assurance of these instruments should be performed through field IC against reference instruments with longer durations in areas of slowly changing eBC concentration.
Keywords: Portable instruments, Mobile monitoring, Black carbon, Instrument intercomparisons
Published in RUNG: 15.09.2020; Views: 2848; Downloads: 184
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