, Volume 128, Issue 1-3, pp 133-151

Inorganic constituents of urban air pollution in the Lazio region (Central Italy)

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Abstract

A field study was carried out at six locations in the Lazio region (Central Italy) aimed at characterising atmospheric particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from the point of view of the chemical composition and grain size distribution of the particles, the mixing properties of the atmosphere, the frequency and relevance of natural events. The combination of four different analytical techniques (ion chromatography, X-ray fluorescence and ICP for inorganic components, thermo-optical analysis for carbon compounds) yielded sound results in terms of characterisation of the air masses. During the first three months of the study (October-December 2004), many pollution events of natural (sea-salt or desert dust episodes) or anthropogenic nature were identified and characterised. More than 90% of the collected mass was identified by chemical analysis. The central role played by the mixing properties of the lower atmosphere when pollution events occurred was highlighted. The results show a major impact of primary anthropogenic pollutants on traffic stations and a homogeneous distribution of secondary pollutants over the regional area. An evaluation of the sources of PM and an identification of possible reliable tracers were obtained using a chemical fractionation procedure.