, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 95-117

Transformation of Aerosol Chemical Properties due to Transport Over a City

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The change of the chemical composition of the near-ground level atmospheric aerosol was studied during two summer episodes by a Lagrangian type of experimental approach. Bulk and single-particle chemical analyses of ions and elements in the particulate phase were deployed. N(-III) and N(V) components were also measured in the gas-phase. The measurements were completed by particle size distributions.

Secondary inorganic aerosols (SIA) and fine particles of ≈0.2–0.4 μm size were still elevated 50 km downwind of the city. The direct comparison of transport over the city in contrast to transport over the surrounding areas showed that SIA was formed from emission from the city within less than 3 h. Relative increases, i.e., enrichment during transport were observed for primary and secondary aerosol components. The degree of mixing on the individual particle level increased significantly during transport in the area. In particular, newly emitted carbonaceous particles became internally mixed within hours with pre-existing sulphate particles. Mostly due to secondary aerosol formation the average particle size (mass median diameter) of major constituents of the aerosol was significantly decreased while being transported over 13 h. Given recent insights which link fine particles number and mass concentrations with health risks, the results suggest that rural populations in areas which frequently are located within an urban plume might run an elevated health risk relative to populations in areas not affected by urban plumes.