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Source apportionment study on particulate air pollution in two high-altitude Bolivian cities: La Paz and El Alto
Valeria Mardoñez, Marco Pandolfi, Lucille Joanna S. Borlaza, Jean-Luc Jaffrezo, Andrés Alastuey, Jean-Luc Besombes, Isabel R. Moreno, Noemí Perez, Griša Močnik, Patrick Ginot, 2023, original scientific article

Abstract: La Paz and El Alto are two fast-growing, high-altitude Bolivian cities forming the second-largest metropolitan area in the country. Located between 3200 and 4050 m a.s.l. (above sea level), these cities are home to a burgeoning population of approximately 1.8 million residents. The air quality in this conurbation is heavily influenced by urbanization; however, there are no comprehensive studies evaluating the sources of air pollution and their health impacts. Despite their proximity, the substantial variation in altitude, topography, and socioeconomic activities between La Paz and El Alto result in distinct sources, dynamics, and transport of particulate matter (PM). In this investigation, PM10 samples were collected at two urban background stations located in La Paz and El Alto between April 2016 and June 2017. The samples were later analyzed for a wide range of chemical species including numerous source tracers (OC, EC, water-soluble ions, sugar anhydrides, sugar alcohols, trace metals, and molecular organic species). The United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF v.5.0) receptor model was employed for the source apportionment of PM10. This is one of the first source apportionment studies in South America that incorporates an extensive suite of organic markers, including levoglucosan, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), hopanes, and alkanes, alongside inorganic species. The multisite PMF resolved 11 main sources of PM. The largest annual contribution to PM10 came from the following two major sources: the ensemble of the four vehicular emissions sources (exhaust and non-exhaust), accountable for 35 % and 25 % of the measured PM in La Paz and El Alto, respectively; and dust, which contributed 20 % and 32 % to the total PM mass. Secondary aerosols accounted for 22 % (24 %) in La Paz (El Alto). Agricultural smoke resulting from biomass burning in the Bolivian lowlands and neighboring countries contributed to 9 % (8 %) of the total PM10 mass annually, increasing to 17 % (13 %) between August–October. Primary biogenic emissions were responsible for 13 % (7 %) of the measured PM10 mass. Additionally, a profile associated with open waste burning occurring from May to August was identified. Although this source contributed only to 2 % (5 %) of the total PM10 mass, it constitutes the second largest source of PAHs, which are compounds potentially hazardous to human health. Our analysis additionally resolved two different traffic-related factors, a lubricant source (not frequently identified), and a non-exhaust emissions source. Overall, this study demonstrates that PM10 concentrations in La Paz and El Alto region are predominantly influenced by a limited number of local sources. In conclusion, to improve air quality in both cities, efforts should primarily focus on addressing dust, traffic emissions, open waste burning, and biomass burning.
Keywords: source apportionment, particular air pollution, high altitude, positive matrix factorization, PMF
Published in RUNG: 15.09.2023; Views: 888; Downloads: 5
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4.
Evaluation of recently-proposed secondary organic aerosol models for a case study in Mexico City
Katja Džepina, R. M. Volkamer, Sasha Madronich, P. Tulet, I. M. Ulbrich, Q. Zhang, C. D. Cappa, P. J. Ziemann, Jose L. Jimenez, 2009, original scientific article

Abstract: Recent field studies have found large discrepancies in the measured vs. modeled SOA mass loadings in both urban and regional polluted atmospheres. The reasons for these large differences are unclear. Here we revisit a case study of SOA formation in Mexico City described by Volkamer et al. (2006), during a photochemically active period when the impact of regional biomass burning is minor or negligible, and show that the observed increase in OA/Delta CO is consistent with results from several groups during MILAGRO 2006. Then we use the case study to evaluate three new SOA models: 1) the update of aromatic SOA yields from recent chamber experiments (Ng et al., 2007); 2) the formation of SOA from glyoxal (Volkamer et al., 2007a); and 3) the formation of SOA from primary semivolatile and intermediate volatility species (P-S/IVOC) (Robinson et al., 2007). We also evaluate the effect of reduced partitioning of SOA into POA (Song et al., 2007). Traditional SOA precursors (mainly aromatics) by themselves still fail to produce enough SOA to match the observations by a factor of similar to similar to 7. The new low-NOx aromatic pathways with very high SOA yields make a very small contribution in this high-NOx urban environment as the RO2 center dot+NO reaction dominates the fate of the RO2 center dot radicals. Glyoxal contributes several mu g m(-3) to SOA formation, with similar timing as the measurements. P-S/IVOC are estimated from equilibrium with emitted POA, and introduce a large amount of gas-phase oxidizable carbon that was not in models before. With the formulation in Robinson et al. (2007) these species have a high SOA yield, and this mechanism can close the gap in SOA mass between measurements and models in our case study. However the volatility of SOA produced in the model is too high and the O/C ratio is somewhat lower than observations. Glyoxal SOA helps to bring the O/C ratio of predicted and observed SOA into better agreement. The sensitivities of the model to some key uncertain parameters are evaluated.
Keywords: polycyclic aromatic-hydrocarbons, positive matrix factorization, mass-spectrometry, volatility measurements
Published in RUNG: 11.04.2021; Views: 2165; Downloads: 0
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