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Optical properties of near-surface urban aerosols and their chemical tracing in a Mediterranean city (Athens)
Dimitris Katsanos, Aikaterini Bougiatioti, Eleni Liakakou, Dimitris G. Kaskaoutis, Iasonas Stavroulas, D. Paraskevopoulou, Maria Lianou, Basil E. Psiloglou, Evangelos Gerasopoulos, Christodoulos Pilinis, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: One-year measurements (October 2016–September 2017) of aerosol optical properties in the Athens urban environment were analyzed; for closure purposes, the results were supported by data of chemical composition of the non-refractory submicron aerosol fraction acquired with an Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor (ACSM). Both the spectral scattering (bsca) and absorption (babs) coefficients exhibit a pronounced annual variability with higher values (63.6 Mm–1 at 550 nm and 41.0 Mm–1 at 520 nm, respectively) in winter, due to domestic heating releasing increased carbonaceous emissions and the shallow mixing layer trapping aerosols near the surface. Much lower values (33.5 Mm–1 and 22.9 Mm–1 for bsca and babs, respectively) are found during summer, indicating rather aged aerosols from regional sources. The estimations of the dry spectral single scattering albedo (SSA), scattering (SAE) and absorption (AAE) Ångström exponents focus on the seasonality of the urban aerosols. The high SAE (~2.0) and low SSA (0.62 ± 0.11) values throughout the year indicate the dominance of fine-absorbing aerosols from fossil-fuel combustion, while the high AAE (~1.5) in winter suggests enhanced presence of biomass-burning aerosols. Pronounced morning and late evening/night peaks are found in both bsca and babs during winter, coinciding with the morning traffic rush hour and increased residential wood burning in the evening, while in the other seasons, the diurnal patterns flatten out. The wind speed strongly affects the aerosol loading and properties in winter, since for winds below 3 m s–1, a high increase in bsca and babs is observed, consistent with low dilution processes and hazy/smoggy conditions. Our closure experiments indicate a good agreement (R2 = 0.91, slope = 1.08) between the reconstructed and measured bsca values and reveal that organic matter contributes about half of the sub-micron mass in winter, followed by sulfate (~40%) and nitrate (10%, only in winter) aerosols.
Keywords: urban aerosols, light scattering, absorption, chemical species, wood burning, Athens
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 277; Downloads: 2
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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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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: 754; Downloads: 6
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