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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: 480; Downloads: 6
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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: 1342; 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: 2325; Downloads: 0
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