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Characterisation of Hydrocarbons in Atmospheric Aerosols from Different European Sites

Authors: C. A. Alves, A. Vicente, M. Evtyugina, C. A. Pio, A. Hoffer, G. Kiss, S. Decesari, R. Hillamo, E.Swietlicki


The concentrations of aliphatic and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were determined in atmospheric aerosol samples collected at a rural site in Hungary (K-puszta, summer 2008), a boreal forest (Hyytiälä,  April 2007) and a polluted rural area in Italy (San Pietro Capofiume, Po Valley, April 2008). A clear distinction between “clean" and “polluted" periods was observed. Concentrations obtained for Hyytiälä are significantly lower than those for the other two sites. Source reconciliation was performed using diagnostic parameters, such as the carbon preference index and ratios between PAH. The presence of an unresolved complex mixture of hydrocarbons, especially for the Finnish and Italian samples, is indicative of petrogenic inputs. In K-puszta, the aliphatic hydrocarbons are dominated by leaf wax n-alkanes. The long range transport of anthropogenic pollution contributed to the Finnish aerosol. Industrial activities and vehicular emissions represent major sources in San Pietro Capofiume. PAH in K-puszta consist of both pyrogenic and petrogenic compounds.

Keywords: Particulate matter, n-alkanes, PAH, BaPE, ruralsites, source reconciliation.

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