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Changes in black carbon emissions over Europe due to COVID-19 lockdowns
Nikolaos Evangeliou, Stephen M. Platt, Sabine Eckhardt, Cathrine Lund Myhre, Paolo Laj, L. Alados-Arboledas, John Backman, Benjamin T. Brem, Markus Fiebig, Jesús Yus-Díez, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Abstract. Following the emergence of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) responsible for COVID-19 in December 2019 in Wuhan (China) and its spread to the rest of the world, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in March 2020. Without effective treatment in the initial pandemic phase, social distancing and mandatory quarantines were introduced as the only available preventative measure. In contrast to the detrimental societal impacts, air quality improved in all countries in which strict lockdowns were applied, due to lower pollutant emissions. Here we investigate the effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe on ambient black carbon (BC), which affects climate and damages health, using in situ observations from 17 European stations in a Bayesian inversion framework. BC emissions declined by 23 kt in Europe (20 % in Italy, 40 % in Germany, 34 % in Spain, 22 % in France) during lockdowns compared to the same period in the previous 5 years, which is partially attributed to COVID-19 measures. BC temporal variation in the countries enduring the most drastic restrictions showed the most distinct lockdown impacts. Increased particle light absorption in the beginning of the lockdown, confirmed by assimilated satellite and remote sensing data, suggests residential combustion was the dominant BC source. Accordingly, in central and Eastern Europe, which experienced lower than average temperatures, BC was elevated compared to the previous 5 years. Nevertheless, an average decrease of 11 % was seen for the whole of Europe compared to the start of the lockdown period, with the highest peaks in France (42 %), Germany (21 %), UK (13 %), Spain (11 %) and Italy (8 %). Such a decrease was not seen in the previous years, which also confirms the impact of COVID-19 on the European emissions of BC.
Keywords: black carbon, covid-19, emissions, Europe
Published in RUNG: 13.05.2024; Views: 161; Downloads: 3
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Measurement of atmospheric black carbon in some South Mediterranean cities : seasonal variations and source apportionment
Hamza Merabet, Rabah Kerbachi, Nikolaos Mihalopoulos, Iasonas Stavroulas, Maria Kanakidou, Noureddine Yassaa, 2019, original scientific article

Abstract: This study aims to investigate, for the first time in Algeria, the atmospheric black carbon (BC) concentrations over one year measured at the Scientific Observatory of Algiers and to compare their concentration levels with other Mediterranean cities (i.e., Athens and Crete). The diurnal cycles as well as seasonal variations of BC concentrations were evaluated and attributed to their emission sources (fossil fuel: BCff and wood burning: BCwb). The annual mean concentrations of BC, BCff and BCwb were 1.113±2.030, 1.064±2.002 and 0.049±0.262 µgm-3, respectively. The highest seasonal mean concentrations were recorded in summer and autumn with 1.283±1.346 and 1.209±1.149 µgm-3 for BC and 1.217±1.431 and 1.177±1.151 µgm-3 for BCff, respectively. However, the lowest mean concentrations were recorded in winter and spring with 1.023±1.189 and 0.966±0.964 µgm-3 for BC and 0.933±1.177 and 0.956±0.874 µgm-3 for BCff, respectively. For BCwb, the highest mean concentrations were reached in winter and summer with 0.090±0.055 and 0.066±0.050 µgm-3, respectively, very likely due to the forest fires and long-range transport of air pollution from Europe. The lowest mean concentrations of BCwb were recorded in autumn and spring with 0.032±0.033 and 0.010±0.021 µgm-3, respectively. Seggregating BC levels into eight wind sectors, showed that the prevailing BC pollution with concentrations reaching up to 5.000 µgm-3 originated from the North-West wind sector. A source apportionment of BC for the wet and dry period was also perfomed followed by a back trajectory cluster analysis for long-range transport.
Keywords: aerosol, black carbon, atmospheric pollution, source apportionment, seasonal variation, year modulation
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 166; Downloads: 3
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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: 180; Downloads: 1
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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: 156; Downloads: 2
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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: 156; Downloads: 0
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Vertical profiling of fresh biomass burning aerosol optical properties over the Greek urban city of Ioannina, during the PANACEA winter campaign
Christina-Anna Papanikolaou, Alexandros Papayannis, M. Mylonaki, Romanos Foskinis, Panagiotis Kokkalis, Eleni Liakakou, Iasonas Stavroulas, O. Soupiona, Nikolaos Hatzianastassiou, Maria Gavrouzou, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Vertical profiling of aerosol particles was performed during the PANhellenic infrastructure for Atmospheric Composition and climatE chAnge (PANACEA) winter campaign (10 January 2020–7 February 2020) over the city of Ioannina, Greece (39.65° N, 20.85° E, 500 m a.s.l.). The middle-sized city of Ioannina suffers from wintertime air pollution episodes due to biomass burning (BB) domestic heating activities. The lidar technique was applied during the PANACEA winter campaign on Ioannina city, to fill the gap of knowledge of the spatio-temporal evolution of the vertical mixing of the particles occurring during these winter-time air pollution episodes. During this campaign the mobile single-wavelength (532 nm) depolarization Aerosol lIdAr System (AIAS) was used to measure the spatio-temporal evolution of the aerosols’ vertical profiles within the Planetary Boundary Layer (PBL) and the lower free troposphere (LFT; up to 4 km height a.s.l.). AIAS performed almost continuous lidar measurements from morning to late evening hours (typically from 07:00 to 19:00 UTC), under cloud-free conditions, to provide the vertical profiles of the aerosol backscatter coefficient (baer) and the particle linear depolarization ratio (PLDR), both at 532 nm. In this study we emphasized on the vertical profiling of very fresh (~hours) biomass burning (BB) particles originating from local domestic heating activities in the area. In total, 33 out of 34 aerosol layers in the lower free troposphere were characterized as fresh biomass burning ones of local origin, showing a mean particle linear depolarization value of 0.04 ± 0.02 with a range of 0.01 to 0.09 (532 nm) in a height region 1.21–2.23 km a.s.l. To corroborate our findings, we used in situ data, particulate matter (PM) concentrations (PM2.5) from a particulate sensor located close to our station, and the total black carbon (BC) concentrations along with the respective contribution of the fossil fuel (BCff) and biomass/wood burning (BCwb) from the Aethalometer. The PM2.5 mass concentrations ranged from 5.6 to 175.7 μg/m3, while the wood burning emissions from residential heating were increasing during the evening hours, with decreasing temperatures. The BCwb concentrations ranged from 0.5 to 17.5 μg/m3, with an extremely high mean contribution of BCwb equal to 85.4%, which in some cases during night-time reached up to 100% during the studied period.
Keywords: lidar, depolarization ratio, fresh biomass burning aerosols, domestic heating, black carbon, PM2.5
Published in RUNG: 10.05.2024; Views: 150; Downloads: 3
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A method for quantification of mineral dust in air based on optical absorption of particles concentrated by a virtual impactor and a device performing the said method : SI3783336 (T1), 2024-02-29
Luka Drinovec, Griša Močnik, Iasonas Stavroulas, Spiros Bezantakos, Michael Pikridas, Florin Unga, Jean Sciare, 2024, patent

Abstract: The present invention belongs to the field of devices and methods for measurement of particle concentration, more precisely to the field of devices and methods for quantification of particles based on their physical characteristics, especially with the use of optical means. The invention relates to a method for determination of ambient mineral dust concentration based on optical absorption of particles concentrated by a virtual impactor as well as a device performing the said method. The method comprises the following steps:- Sampling air samples with particle size smaller than 1 µm (PM1) and sampling air samples with particle size up to 10 µm;- Concentrating the samples with particle sizes up to 10 µm with a virtual impactor;- Measuring optical absorption of collected samples at least one wavelength from UV to IR spectre, preferably from 370 to 950 nm, most preferably at 370 nm;- Subtracting the absorption of the samples with particle size smaller than 1 µm from the absorption of the sample concentrated by the virtual impactor.
Keywords: dust, black carbon, aerosols
Published in RUNG: 24.04.2024; Views: 774; Downloads: 2
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Comparing black-carbon- and aerosol-absorption-measuring instruments : a new system using lab-generated soot coated with controlled amounts of secondary organic matter
Daniel M. Kalbermatter, Griša Močnik, Luka Drinovec, Bradley Visser, Jannis Röhrbein, Matthias Oscity, Ernest Weingartner, Antti-Pekka Hyvärinen, Konstantina Vasilatou, 2022, complete scientific database of research data

Abstract: A preprint of the publication can be found here: AMTD - Response of black carbon and aerosol absorption measuring instruments to laboratory-generated soot coated with controlled amounts of secondary organic matter ( ( The files correspond to the raw data sets used for Figures 3 and 4 of the aforementioned publication. The date and start/stop time of the measurements are listed in the file "overview_measurements".
Keywords: aerosol absorption coefficient, black carbon, absorption enhancement
Published in RUNG: 19.03.2024; Views: 467; Downloads: 2
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Phenomenology of organic aerosols light absorption in Europe based on in situ surface observations
Jordi Rovira, Jesús Yus-Díez, Griša Močnik, 2024, published scientific conference contribution abstract

Abstract: Both chamber and field experiments have shown that a fraction of organic aerosols (OA), called brown carbon (BrC), can efficiently absorb UV-VIS radiation with important effects on radiation balance. However, the optical properties of BrC, and its climate effects, remain poorly understood because a variety of chemical compositions are involved and their fractions vary with source and formation process. We present a phenomenology of OA light absorption in Europe using Aethalometer (AE) data. AE data were used to calculate the black carbon (BC) and BrC contribution to the total measured absorption in the UV-VIS spectral range (babs,BC(l), babsBrC(l)). Fig. 1 shows the BrC absorption at 370 nm and shows that the BrC absorption was on average higher in urban than in rural sites. Figure 1. Map of BrC absorption in rural and urban sites. At 18 out of 41 sites, simultaneous ACSM (Aerosol Chemical Speciation Monitor) data were available allowing reporting the mass absorption cross-section (MAC), the imaginary refractive index (k), the k Angström Exponent (w) of OA particles and OA sources. We compared the experimental data the with Saleh’s classification, that groups BrC in four optical classes, namely very weakly (VW-BrC), weakly (W-BrC), moderately (M-BrC) and strongly (S-BrC) absorbing BrC. Preliminary results show that both MAC and k of POA sources were higher compared to SOA sources and that BBOA (biomass burning OA) followed by CCOA (coal combustion OA) and HOA (hydrocarbon-like OA) dominated the absorption by BrC.  Data reported indicate a relationship between w and k with higher w associated to less absorbing OA particles. With this work we provide a robust experimental framework that can be used to better constrain the climate effect of OA particles represented in climate models. In our results we found that most of the measured ambient OA particles present from W to M absorption properties. Variations in OA k and w depend on the relative contribution of POA compared to SOA as also reflected by the higher k observed in winter compared to summer. Our results also demonstrate a strong variation of OA optical properties in Europe thus further confirming the complexity of OA absorption properties. This work was supported by the FOCI Project (G.A. 101056783) and ARRS P1-0385. Action Cost COLOSSAL. We thank the COLOSSAL Team for providing OA sources and AE33 data. Chen et al (2022). Env. Int. 166, 107325. Nakao et al (2013). Atm. Env. 68, 273-277. Canagaratna et al (2015). Atmos. Chem. Phys. 15, 253-272. Saleh et al (2020). Curr. Pollution Rep. 6, 90–104.
Keywords: black carbon, brown carbon, aerosol absorption coefficient
Published in RUNG: 18.03.2024; Views: 503; Downloads: 2
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