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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 18, issue 18
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 13495-13510, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 13495-13510, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 24 Sep 2018

Research article | 24 Sep 2018

Snow scavenging and phase partitioning of nitrated and oxygenated aromatic hydrocarbons in polluted and remote environments in central Europe and the European Arctic

Pourya Shahpoury1,2, Zoran Kitanovski1,3, and Gerhard Lammel1,4 Pourya Shahpoury et al.
  • 1Multiphase Chemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany
  • 2Air Quality Processes Research Section, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Toronto, Canada
  • 3Department of Food Chemistry, National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • 4Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic

Abstract. Nitrated and oxygenated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (N/OPAHs) are emitted in combustion processes and formed in polluted air. Their environmental cycling through wet deposition has hardly been studied. Fresh snow samples at urban and rural sites in central Europe, as well as surface snow from a remote site in Svalbard, were analysed for 17 NPAHs, 8 OPAHs, and 11 nitrated mono-aromatic hydrocarbons (NMAHs), of which most N/OPAHs as well as nitrocatechols, nitrosalicylic acids, and 4-nitroguaiacol are studied for the first time in precipitation. In order to better understand the scavenging mechanisms, the particulate mass fractions (θ) at 273K were predicted using a multi-phase gas-particle partitioning model based on polyparameter linear free energy relationships.  NPAH concentrations were 1.2–17.6 and 8.8–19.1ngL−1 at urban and rural sites, whereas  OPAHs were 79.8–955.2 and 343.3–1757.4ngL−1 at these sites, respectively. 9,10-anthraquinone was predominant in snow aqueous and particulate phases. NPAHs were only found in the particulate phase with 9-nitroanthracene being predominant followed by 2-nitrofluoranthene. Among NMAHs, 4-nitrophenol showed the highest abundance in both phases. The levels found for nitrophenols were in the same range or lower than those reported in the 1980s and 1990s. The lowest levels of   N/OPAHs and   NMAHs were found at the remote site (3.5 and 390.5ngL−1, respectively). N/OPAHs preferentially partitioned in snow particulate phase in accordance with predicted θ, whereas NMAHs were predominant in the aqueous phase, regardless of θ. It is concluded that the phase distribution of non-polar N/OPAHs in snow is determined by their gas-particle partitioning prior to snow scavenging, whereas that for polar particulate phase substances, i.e. NMAHs, is determined by an interplay between gas-particle partitioning in the aerosol and dissolution during in- or below-cloud scavenging.

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