Anthropogenic and Natural Constituents in PM10 at Urban and Rural Sites in North-Western Europe: Concentrations, Chemical Composition and Sources
This study focuses on north-western region of Europe discussing questions like the following: Which anthropogenic and natural constituents build up the particulate matter? To what extent do they contribute to the total mass? And where do these constituents originate? To answer, we elaborated data sets containing chemical information of PM recently becoming available in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.
The chemical composition of PM10 shows a considerable conformity in these countries. Always, secondary inorganic aerosols (SIA) are the major constituent (±40%) followed by the carbonaceous compounds (±25%). Contributions of sea salt and mineral dust vary between 10% and 15% depending on presence and distance of respective sources. The unidentified mass is some 15% indicating that the composition of PM10 in this region is fairly well known.
PM10 concentrations and constituents appear systematically higher at urban sites. Urban increments have been measured for most chemical constituents. Nearby (anthropogenic) sources and reduced dispersion in the urbanised areas are the main determining factors here. The observed increment for SIA is caused by more nitrate and sulphate. It is explained by depletion of chloride stabilising part of the nitrate and sulphate in the coarse mode. The question then arises how to assign the coarse mode nitrate (and sulphate) in the mass closure exercise as they replace the chloride.
Important for the national and European air pollution policy is how much of the measured particulate matter is of anthropogenic origin. A simple assessment indicates that 20–25% of PM10 is of natural origin; hence, the majority of PM10 in the north-western-European region is of anthropogenic origin. The uncertainty in this analysis is considerable, and the result is indicative.
A chemical transport model (LOTOS-EUROS) was used to obtain a detailed source apportionment. In total, 75% of the modelled PM10 mass could be explained. The important contributions to PM10 come from agriculture, on- and off-road transport and natural sources (sea salt). Secondary contributions are derived from power generation, industrial processes and combustion as well as households. Of the modelled part, 70–80% of PM10 over the Netherlands is anthropogenic. The increase in source contribution going from low to high PM levels is proportional for most sectors, except for agriculture and transport, which become more important mainly due to the more than proportional rise in ammonium nitrate concentrations. Sea-salt concentrations decline with rising PM10. The same was found for Spain, but here, the impact of Saharan dust on PM episodes is clearly recognisable and much larger than in north-western Europe. Natural sources in Spain contribute about half of the modelled PM10 concentrations. Significant anthropogenic sources are similar to those in north-western Europe.
KeywordsAnthropogenic contribution Chemical composition Chemical transport modelling Natural contribution North-western Europe PM10 Source apportionment Spain
The use of the “CHEMKAR” data in this study was kindly permitted by the Flemish Environmental Agency . The “BOP” campaign was organised by a consortium of the Dutch research institutes (ECN, TNO and RIVM) within the framework of the second Netherlands Research Programme on Particulate Matter (sponsored by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment I&M). The German air quality campaign (executed by IUTA) was sponsored by the North Rhine-Westphalia State Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection (LANUV) and the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Environment (MKULNV). The LOTOS-EUROS modelling exercise presented here was partly funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission EnerGEO and by the second Netherlands Research Programme on Particulate Matter.
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