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1.
Long-term variability, source apportionment and spectral properties of black carbon at an urban background site in Athens, Greece
Eleni Liakakou, Iasonas Stavroulas, Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Georgios Grivas, D. Paraskevopoulou, Umesh Chandra Dumka, M. Tsagkaraki, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, K. Oikonomou, J. Sciare, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: This study aims to delineate the characteristics of Black Carbon (BC) in the atmosphere over Athens, Greece, using 4-year (May 2015–April 2019) Aethalometer (AE-33) measurements. The average BC concentration is 1.9 ± 2.5 μg m−3 (ranging from 0.1 to 32.7 μg m−3; hourly values), with a well-defined seasonality from 1.3 ± 1.1 μg m−3 in summer to 3.0 ± 4.0 μg m−3 in winter. Pronounced morning and evening/night peaks are found in the BC concentrations in winter, while during the rest of the seasons, this diurnal cycle appears to flatten out, with the exception of the morning traffic peak. On an annual basis, the biomass-burning fraction (BB%) of BC accounts for 22 ± 12%, while the fossil-fuel combustion (BCff) component (traffic emissions and domestic heating) dominates during summer (83%) and in the morning hours. BCwb exhibits higher contribution in winter (32%), especially during the night hours (39%). BC levels are effectively reduced by precipitation, while they significantly build-up for wind speeds <3 m s−1 and mixing-layer height (MLH) < 500 m. Normalizing the BC diurnal course by the MLH variations on a seasonal basis reveals that the residential wood-burning emissions are mostly responsible for the large BC increase during winter nights, whereas the low BC levels during daytime in the warm season are mainly attributed to dilution into a deeper MLH. BCwb is highly correlated with other BB tracers during winter nights (e.g. levoglucosan, non-sea-salt-K+, m/z 60 fragment), as well as with the fine fraction (PM2.5) OC and EC. The Delta-C, which represents the spectral dependence of BC as the absorption difference between 370 and 880 nm, is analyzed for the first time in Athens. It exhibits a pronounced seasonality with maximum values in winter night-time, and it appears as a valid qualitative marker for wood combustion.
Keywords: black carbon, wood burning, source apportionment, mixing layer, biomass burning tracers, Athens
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 262; Downloads: 1
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2.
Long-term brown carbon spectral characteristics in a Mediterranean city (Athens)
Eleni Liakakou, Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Georgios Grivas, Iasonas Stavroulas, M. Tsagkaraki, D. Paraskevopoulou, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, Umesh Chandra Dumka, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: This study analyses 4-years of continuous 7-λ Aethalometer (AE-33) measurements in an urban-background environment of Athens, to resolve the spectral absorption coefficients (babs) for black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC). An important BrC contribution (23.7 ± 11.6%) to the total babs at 370 nm is estimated for the period May 2015–April 2019, characterized by a remarkable seasonality with winter maximum (33.5 ± 13.6%) and summer minimum (18.5 ± 8.1%), while at longer wavelengths the BrC contribution is significantly reduced (6.8 ± 3.6% at 660 nm). The wavelength dependence of the total babs gives an annual-mean AAE370-880 of 1.31, with higher values in winter night-time. The BrC absorption and its contribution to babs presents a large increase reaching up to 39.1 ± 13.6% during winter nights (370 nm), suggesting residential wood burning (RWB) emissions as a dominant source for BrC. This is supported by strong correlations of the BrC absorption with OC, EC, the fragment ion m/z 60 derived from ACSM and PMF-analyzed organic fractions related to biomass burning (e.g. BBOA). In contrast, BrC absorption decreases significantly during daytime as well as in the warm period, reaching to a minimum during the early-afternoon hours in all seasons due to photo-chemical degradation. Estimated secondary BrC absorption is practically evident only during winter night-time, implying the fast oxidation of BrC species from RWB emissions. Changes in mixing-layer height do not significantly affect the BrC absorption in winter, while they play a major role in summer.
Keywords: spectral aerosol absorption, brown carbon, wood burning, organic aerosols, chemical composition, Athens
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 276; Downloads: 1
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3.
In situ identification of aerosol types in Athens, Greece, based on long-term optical and on online chemical characterization
Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Georgios Grivas, Iasonas Stavroulas, Eleni Liakakou, Umesh Chandra Dumka, Konstantinos Dimitriou, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Absorption Ångström Exponent (AAE) and Scattering Ångström Exponent (SAE) values, derived from aethalometer and nephelometer measurements during a period of 3 years at an urban background site in Athens, are combined for the first aerosol type classification using in situ measurements in the eastern Mediterranean. In addition, single scattering albedo (SSA) and its wavelength dependence (dSSA), as well as the chemical composition of fine aerosols and precursor gases from collocated measurements, are utilized to provide further insights on the optical-chemical characterization and related sources of seven identified aerosol types. Urban aerosols are mostly characterized as Black Carbon (BC)-dominated (76.3%), representing a background atmosphere where fossil-fuel combustion is dominant throughout the year, while 14.3% of the cases correspond to the mixed Brown Carbon (BrC)-BC type, with a higher frequency in winter. The BrC type is associated with the highest scattering and absorption coefficients during winter nights, representing the impact from residential wood-burning emissions. Dust mixed with urban pollution (1.2%) and large particles mixed with BC (5.3%) have a higher frequency in spring. Furthermore, aging processes and BC coating with organic and inorganic species with weak spectral absorption (AAE<1) account for 2.2%, with a differentiation between small and large particles. dSSA is recognized as a useful parameter for aerosol characterization, since fine aerosols are associated with negative dSSA values. The identified aerosol types are examined on a seasonal, monthly, hourly basis and by potential source areas, as well as in comparison with fine-aerosol chemical composition and apportioned organic aerosol source contributions, in an attempt to explore the linkage between optical, physical and chemical aerosol properties. Chemical analysis indicates high organic fraction (60–68%) for the BrC and BrC/BC, 20–30% larger compared to other types. The results are essential for parametrization in chemical transport models and for reducing the uncertainty in the assessment of aerosol radiative effects.
Keywords: aerosol types, classification, AAE, SAE, dSSA, chemical composition, sources, Athens
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 241; Downloads: 2
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4.
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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5.
Apportionment of black and brown carbon spectral absorption sources in the urban environment of Athens, Greece, during winter
Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Georgios Grivas, Iasonas Stavroulas, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, Eleni Liakakou, Umesh Chandra Dumka, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: This study examines the spectral properties and source characteristics of absorbing aerosols (BC: Black Carbon; BrC: Brown Carbon, based on aethalometer measurements) in the urban background of Athens during December 2016–February 2017. Using common assumptions regarding the spectral dependence of absorption due to BC (AAEBC = 1) and biomass burning (AAEbb = 2), and calculating an optimal AAEff value for the dataset (1.18), the total spectral absorption was decomposed into five components, corresponding to absorption of BC and BrC from fossil-fuel (ff) combustion and biomass burning (bb), and to secondary BrC estimated using the BC-tracer minimum R-squared (MRS) method. Substantial differences in the contribution of various components to the total absorption were found between day and night, due to differences in emissions and meteorological dynamics, while BrC and biomass burning aerosols presented higher contributions at shorter wavelengths. At 370 nm, the absorption due to BCff contributed 36.3% on average, exhibiting a higher fraction (58.1%) during daytime, while the mean BCbb absorption was estimated at 18.4%. The mean absorption contributions due to BrCff, BrCbb and BrCsec were 6.7%, 32.3% and 4.9%, respectively. The AbsBCff,370 component maximized during the morning traffic hours and was strongly correlated with NOx (R2 = 0.76) and CO (R2 = 0.77), while a similar behavior was seen for the AbsBrCff,370 component. AbsBCbb and AbsBrCbb levels escalated during nighttime and were highly associated with nss-K+ and with the organic aerosol (OA) components related to fresh and fast-oxidized biomass burning (BBOA and SV-OOA) as obtained from ACSM measurements. Multiple linear regression was used to attribute BrC absorption to five OA components and to determine their absorption contributions and efficiencies, revealing maximum contributions of BBOA (33%) and SV-OOA (21%). Sensitivity analysis was performed in view of the methodological uncertainties and supported the reliability of the results, which can have important implications for radiative transfer models.
Keywords: spectral absorption, black carbon, brown carbon, fossil fuel, biomass burning, source apportionment
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 251; Downloads: 0
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