Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 51, Issue 3, pp 271–291 | Cite as

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

  • M. Steinbacher
  • J. Dommen
  • C. Ordonez
  • S. Reimann
  • F. C. GrÜebler
  • J. Staehelin
  • A. S. H. PrevotEmail author


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.


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


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Steinbacher
    • 1
    • 2
  • J. Dommen
    • 1
  • C. Ordonez
    • 1
  • S. Reimann
    • 2
  • F. C. GrÜebler
    • 3
  • J. Staehelin
    • 3
  • A. S. H. Prevot
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Paul Scherrer InstitutLaboratory of Atmospheric ChemistryVilligen PSISwitzerland
  2. 2.Swiss Federal Institute for Material Testing and Research (EMPA)Laboratory for Air Pollution/Environmental TechnologyDübendorfSwitzerland
  3. 3.Swiss Federal Institute of TechnologyInstitute for Atmospheric and Climate ScienceZurichSwitzerland

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