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Summertime particulate matter and its composition in Greece
M. A. Tsiflikiotou, E. Kostenidou, D. K. Papanastasiou, D. Patoulias, Pavlos Zarmpas, D. Paraskevopoulou, E. Diapouli, Christos Kaltsonoudis, Kalliopi Florou, Iasonas Stavroulas, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: During the summer of 2012 a coordinated field campaign was conducted in multiple locations in Greece in order to characterize the ambient particulate matter (PM) levels, its chemical composition and the contribution of the regional and local sources. PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 samples were collected simultaneously at seven different sites in Greece: an urban and a suburban station in Patras, a suburban station in Thessaloniki, a suburban and an urban background station in Athens, a rural background station at the Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO) in southwestern Peloponnese and a remote background site at Finokalia in the northeastern part of Crete. The sites were selected to facilitate the estimation of the contribution of the local emission sources and long range transport. Sulfate and organics were the major PM1 components in all sites suggesting that high sulfate levels still remain in parts of Europe. The photochemistry of the Eastern Mediterranean can convert rapidly the emitted sulphur dioxide to sulfate. Our analysis indicated significant sulfate production over the area, with high sulfate levels, especially in the remote site of Finokalia, associated with air masses that had passed over Turkey. There was high regional secondary organic aerosol production dominating organic aerosol levels even in a major city like Athens. High organic aerosol levels were associated with air masses that had crossed the Balkans with a significant biogenic component. The average PM2.5 concentration ranged from 13 to 18 μg m−3 in the different sites. There were unexpected significant gradients in the concentrations of secondary aerosol components in length scales of a few hundred kilometers. The low concentrations of measured PM2.5 nitrate are mostly organic nitrates and supermicrometer nitrate associated with sea-salt and dust. Dust was a significant PM10 constituent in all areas and was quite variable in space showing the importance of the local sources.
Keywords: PM2.5, sulfate aerosol, secondary inorganic aerosol, secondary organic aerosol, Greece
Published in RUNG: 13.05.2024; Views: 278; Downloads: 0
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Sources and processes that control the submicron organic aerosol composition in an urban Mediterranean environment (Athens) : a high temporal-resolution chemical composition measurement study
Iasonas Stavroulas, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, Georgios Grivas, D. Paraskevopoulou, M. Tsagkaraki, Pavlos Zarmpas, Eleni Liakakou, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: Submicron aerosol chemical composition was studied during a year-long period (26 July 2016–31 July 2017) and two wintertime intensive campaigns (18 December 2013–21 February 2014 and 23 December 2015–17 February 2016), at a central site in Athens, Greece, using an Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM). Concurrent measurements included a particle-into-liquid sampler (PILS-IC), a scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS), an AE-33 Aethalometer, and ion chromatography analysis on 24 or 12 h filter samples. The aim of the study was to characterize the seasonal variability of the main submicron aerosol constituents and decipher the sources of organic aerosol (OA). Organics were found to contribute almost half of the submicron mass, with 30 min resolution concentrations during wintertime reaching up to 200 µg m−3. During winter (all three campaigns combined), primary sources contributed about 33 % of the organic fraction, and comprised biomass burning (10 %), fossil fuel combustion (13 %), and cooking (10 %), while the remaining 67 % was attributed to secondary aerosol. The semi-volatile component of the oxidized organic aerosol (SV-OOA; 22 %) was found to be clearly linked to combustion sources, in particular biomass burning; part of the very oxidized, low-volatility component (LV-OOA; 44 %) could also be attributed to the oxidation of emissions from these primary combustion sources. These results, based on the combined contribution of biomass burning organic aerosol (BBOA) and SV-OOA, indicate the importance of increased biomass burning in the urban environment of Athens as a result of the economic recession. During summer, when concentrations of fine aerosols are considerably lower, more than 80 % of the organic fraction is attributed to secondary aerosol (SV-OOA 31 % and LV-OOA 53 %). In contrast to winter, SV-OOA appears to result from a well-mixed type of aerosol that is linked to fast photochemical processes and the oxidation of primary traffic and biogenic emissions. Finally, LV-OOA presents a more regional character in summer, owing to the oxidation of OA over the period of a few days.
Keywords: ACSM, organic aerosol, PMF, source apportionment
Published in RUNG: 13.05.2024; Views: 263; Downloads: 2
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Online chemical characterization and sources of submicron aerosol in the major mediterranean port city of Piraeus, Greece
Iasonas Stavroulas, Georgios Grivas, Eleni Liakakou, Panayiotis Kalkavouras, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Maria Lianou, Kyriaki Papoutsidaki, M. Tsagkaraki, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Pavlos Zarmpas, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Port cities are affected by a wide array of emissions, including those from the shipping, road transport, and residential sectors; therefore, the characterization and apportionment of such sources in a high temporal resolution is crucial. This study presents measurements of fine aerosol chemical composition in Piraeus, one of the largest European ports, during two monthly periods (winter vs. summer) in 2018–2019, using online instrumentation (Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor—ACSM, 7-λ aethalometer). PMF source apportionment was performed on the ACSM mass spectra to quantify organic aerosol (OA) components, while equivalent black carbon (BC) was decomposed to its fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning (BB) fractions. The combined traffic, shipping and, especially, residential emissions led to considerably elevated submicron aerosol levels (22.8 μg m−3) in winter, which frequently became episodic late at night under stagnant conditions. Carbonaceous compounds comprised the major portion of this submicron aerosol in winter, with mean OA and BC contributions of 61% (13.9 μg m−3) and 16% (3.7 μg m−3), respectively. The contribution of BB to BC concentrations was considerable and spatially uniform. OA related to BB emissions (fresh and processed) and hydrocarbon-like OA (from vehicular traffic and port-related fossil fuel emissions including shipping) accounted for 37% and 30% of OA, respectively. In summer, the average PM1 concentration was significantly lower (14.8 μg m−3) and less variable, especially for the components associated with secondary aerosols (such as OA and sulfate). The effect of the port sector was evident in summer and maintained BC concentrations at high levels (2.8 μg m−3), despite the absence of BB and improved atmospheric dispersion. Oxygenated components yielded over 70% of OA in summer, with the more oxidized secondary component of regional origin being dominant (41%) despite the intensity of local sources, in the Piraeus environment. In general, with respect to local sources that can be the target of mitigation policies, this work highlights the importance of port-related activities but also reveals the extensive wintertime impact of residential wood burning. While a separation of the BB source is feasible, more research is needed on how to disentangle the short-term effects of different fossil-fuel combustion sources.
Keywords: Athens, harbor, shipping emissions, PM1, chemical speciation, organic aerosol, black carbon, ACSM, aethalometer, PMF
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 241; Downloads: 2
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Assessment of the COVID-19 lockdown effects on spectral aerosol scattering and absorption properties in Athens, Greece
Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Georgios Grivas, Eleni Liakakou, Nikos Kalivitis, Giorgos Kouvarakis, Iasonas Stavroulas, Panayiotis Kalkavouras, Pavlos Zarmpas, Umesh Chandra Dumka, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: COVID-19 is evolving into one of the worst pandemics in recent history, claiming a death toll of over 1.5 million as of December 2020. In an attempt to limit the expansion of the pandemic in its initial phase, nearly all countries imposed restriction measures, which resulted in an unprecedented reduction of air pollution. This study aims to assess the impact of the lockdown effects due to COVID-19 on in situ measured aerosol properties, namely spectral-scattering (bsca) and absorption (babs) coefficients, black carbon (BC) concentrations, single-scattering albedo (SSA), scattering and absorption Ångström exponents (SAE, AAE) in Athens, Greece. Moreover, a comparison is performed with the regional background site of Finokalia, Crete, for a better assessment of the urban impact on observed differences. The study examines pre-lockdown (1–22 March 2020), lockdown (23 March–3 May 2020) and post-lockdown (4–31 May 2020) periods, while the aerosol properties are also compared with a 3–4 year preceding period (2016/2017–2019). Comparison of meteorological parameters in Athens, between the lockdown period and respective days in previous years, showed only marginal variation, which is not deemed sufficient in order to justify the notable changes in aerosol concentrations and optical properties. The largest reduction during the lockdown period was observed for babs compared to the pre-lockdown (−39%) and to the same period in previous years (−36%). This was intensified during the morning traffic hours (−60%), reflecting the large decrease in vehicular emissions. Furthermore, AAE increased during the lockdown period due to reduced emissions from fossil-fuel combustion, while a smaller (−21%) decrease was observed for bsca along with slight increases (6%) in SAE and SSA values, indicating that scattering aerosol properties were less affected by the decrease in vehicular emissions, as they are more dependent on regional sources and atmospheric processing. Nighttime BC emissions related to residential wood-burning were slightly increased during the lockdown period, with respect to previous-year means. On the contrary, aerosol and pollution changes during the lockdown period at Finokalia were low and highly sensitive to natural sources and processes.
Keywords: COVID-19, traffic, aerosol scattering, absorption, SSA, Greece
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 222; Downloads: 3
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Impacts of severe residential wood burning on atmospheric processing, water-soluble organic aerosol and light absorption, in an inland city of Southeastern Europe
Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Georgios Grivas, K. Oikonomou, P. Tavernaraki, Kyriaki Papoutsidaki, M. Tsagkaraki, Iasonas Stavroulas, Pavlos Zarmpas, D. Paraskevopoulou, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: This study examines the concentrations and characteristics of carbonaceous aerosols (including saccharides) and inorganic species measured by PM2.5 filter sampling and a multi-wavelength Aethalometer during two campaigns in a mountainous, medium-sized, Greek city (Ioannina). The first campaign was conducted in summer and used as a baseline of low concentrations, while the second took place in winter under intensive residential wood burning (RWB) emissions. Very high winter-mean OC concentrations (26.0 μg m−3) were observed, associated with an OC/EC ratio of 9.9, and mean BCwb and PM2.5 levels of 4.5 μg m−3 and 57.5 μg m−3, respectively. Simultaneously, record-high levoglucosan (Lev) concentrations (mean: 6.0 μg m−3; max: 15.9 μg m−3) were measured, revealing a severely biomass burning (BB)-laden environment. The water-soluble OC component (WSOC) accounted for 56 ± 9% of OC in winter, exhibiting high correlations (R2 = 0.93–0.97) with BB tracers (nss-K+, BCwb, Lev), nitrate and light absorption, potentially indicating the formation of water-soluble brown carbon (BrC) from fast oxidation processes. The examination of diagnostic ratios involving BB tracers indicated the prevalence of hardwood burning, while the mean Lev/OC ratio (22%) was remarkably higher than literature values. Applying a mono-tracer method based on levoglucosan, we estimated very high BB contributions to OC (∼92%), EC (∼64%) and WSOC (∼87%) during winter. On the contrary, low levels were registered during summer for all carbonaceous components, with winter/summer ratios of 4–5 for PM2.5 and BC, 10 for OC, 30 for BCwb and ∼1100 for levoglucosan. The absence of local BB sources in summer, combined with the photochemical processing and aging of regional organic aerosols, resulted in higher WSOC/OC fractions (64 ± 13%). The results indicate highly soluble fine carbonaceous aerosol fraction year-round, which when considered alongside the extreme concentration levels in winter can have important implications for short- and long-term health effects.
Keywords: carbonaceous aerosols, biomass burning, levoglucosan, WSOC, heterogeneous chemistry, Greece
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 251; Downloads: 2
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