On the origin of water-soluble organic tracer compounds in fine aerosols in two cities: the case of Los Angeles and Barcelona
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Water-soluble organic compounds (WSOCs), represented by anhydro-saccharides, dicarboxylic acids, and polyols, were analyzed by gas chromatography interfaced to mass spectrometry in extracts from 103 PM1 and 22 PM2.5 filter samples collected in an urban background and road site in Barcelona (Spain) and an urban background site in Los Angeles (USA), respectively, during 1-month intensive sampling campaigns in 2010. Both locations have similar Mediterranean climates, with relatively high solar radiation and frequent anti-cyclonic conditions, and are influenced by a complex mixture of emission sources. Multivariate curve resolution-alternating least squares analyses were applied on the database in order to resolve differences and similarities in WSOC compositions in the studied sites. Five consistent clusters for the analyzed compounds were obtained, representing primary regional biomass burning organic carbon, three secondary organic components (aged SOC, isoprene SOC, and α-pinene SOC), and a less clear component, called urban oxygenated organic carbon. This last component is probably influenced by in situ urban activities, such as food cooking and traffic emissions and oxidation processes.