Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11553-11567, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Nov 2011
Spatiotemporal distribution of light-absorbing carbon and its relationship to other atmospheric pollutants in Stockholm
P. Krecl*,1, A. C. Targino2, and C. Johansson3,1 1Department of Applied Environmental Science, Atmospheric Science Unit, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
2Universidade Tecnológica Federal do Paraná, Londrina, Brazil
3Stockholm Environment and Health Administration, Stockholm, Sweden
*now at: the School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
Abstract. Carbon-containing particles have deleterious effects on both Earth's climate and human health. In Europe, the main sources of light-absorbing carbon (LAC) emissions are the transport (67%) and residential (25%) sectors. Information on the spatiotemporal variability of LAC particles in urban areas is relevant for air quality management and to better diagnose the population exposure to these particles. This study reports on results of an intensive field campaign conducted at four sites (two kerbside stations, one urban background site and a rural station) in Stockholm, Sweden, during the spring 2006. Light-absorbing carbon mass (MLAC) concentrations were measured with custom-built Particle Soot Absorption Photometers (PSAP). The spatiotemporal variability of MLAC concentrations was explored by examining correlation coefficients (R), coefficients of divergence (COD), and diurnal patterns at all sites. Simultaneous measurements of NOx, PM10, PM2.5, and meteorological variables were also carried out at the same locations to help characterize the LAC emission sources.

Hourly mean (± standard deviation) MLAC concentrations ranged from 0.36±0.50 at the rural site to 5.39±3.60 μg m−3 at the street canyon site. Concentrations of LAC between urban sites were poorly correlated even for daily averages (R<0.70), combined with highly heterogeneously distributed concentrations (COD>0.30) even at spatial scales of few kilometers. This high variability is connected to the distribution of emission sources and processes contributing to the LAC fraction at these sites. At urban sites, MLAC tracked NOx levels and traffic density well and mean MLAC/PM2.5 ratios were larger (26–38%) than at the background sites (4–10%). The results suggest that vehicle exhaust emissions are the main responsible for the high MLAC concentrations found at the urban locations whereas long-range transport (LRT) episodes of combustion-derived particles can generate a strong increase of levels at background sites.

To decrease pollution levels at kerbside and urban background locations in Stockholm, we recommend abatement strategies that target reductions of vehicle exhaust emissions, which are the main contributors to MLAC and NOx concentrations.

Citation: Krecl, P., Targino, A. C., and Johansson, C.: Spatiotemporal distribution of light-absorbing carbon and its relationship to other atmospheric pollutants in Stockholm, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11553-11567,, 2011.
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