Article

Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 271-291

Volatile Organic Compounds in the Po Basin. Part A: Anthropogenic VOCs

  • M. SteinbacherAffiliated withPaul Scherrer Institut, Laboratory of Atmospheric ChemistrySwiss Federal Institute for Material Testing and Research (EMPA), Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology
  • , J. DommenAffiliated withPaul Scherrer Institut, Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry
  • , C. OrdonezAffiliated withPaul Scherrer Institut, Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry
  • , S. ReimannAffiliated withSwiss Federal Institute for Material Testing and Research (EMPA), Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental Technology
  • , F. C. GrÜeblerAffiliated withSwiss Federal Institute of Technology, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science
  • , J. StaehelinAffiliated withSwiss Federal Institute of Technology, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science
  • , A. S. H. PrevotAffiliated withPaul Scherrer Institut, Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry Email author 

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Abstract

Measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were performed in the Po Basin, northern Italy in early summer 1998 within the PIPAPO project as well as in summer 2002 and autumn 2003 within the FORMAT project. During the three campaigns, trace gases and meteorological parameters were measured at a semi-rural station, around 35 km north of the city center of Milan. Low toluene and benzene concentrations and lower toluene to benzene ratios on weekends, on Sundays, and in August enabled the identification of a ‘weekend’ and a ‘vacation’ effect when anthropogenic emissions were lower due to less traffic and reduced industrial activities, respectively. Recurrent nighttime cyclohexane peaks suggested a periodical short-term release of cyclohexane close to the semi-rural sampling site. A multivariate receptor model analysis resulted in the distinction of different characteristic concentration profiles attributed to natural gas, biogenic impact, vehicle exhaust, industrial activities, and a single cyclohexane source.

Keywords

benzene Greater Milan area positive matrix factorization toluene vacation effect weekend effect