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An evaluation of measurement methods for organic, elemental and black carbon in ambient air monitoring sites

Quincey, Paul; Butterfield, David; Green, David; Coyle, Mhairi; Cape, J. Neil. 2009 An evaluation of measurement methods for organic, elemental and black carbon in ambient air monitoring sites. Atmospheric Environment, 43 (32). 5085-5091. 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.06.041

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Abstract/Summary

The carbonaceous components of Particulate Matter samples form a substantial fraction of their total mass, but their quantification depends strongly on the instruments and methods used. United Kingdom monitoring networks have provided many relevant data sets that are already in the public domain. Specifically, hourly organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) were determined at four sites between 2003 and 2007 using Rupprecht and Pattashnik (R & P) 5400 automatic instruments. Since 2007, daily OC/EC measurements have been made by manual thermo-optical analysis of filter samples using a Sunset Laboratory Carbon Aerosol Analysis instrument. In parallel, long term daily measurements of Black Smoke, a quantity directly linked to black carbon (measured by aethalometers) and indirectly related to elemental carbon, have been made at many sites. The measurement issues associated with these techniques are evaluated in the context of UK measurements, making use of several sets of parallel data, with the aim of aiding the interpretation of network results. From the results available, the main conclusions are that the R & P 5400 instruments greatly underread EC and total carbon (TC = OC+EC) at kerbside sites, probably due to the fact that the smaller particles are not sampled by the instrument; the R & P 5400 instrument is inherently difficult to characterise, so that all quantitative results need to be treated with caution; both aethalometer and Black Smoke (converted to black carbon) measurements can show reasonable agreement with elemental carbon results; and manual thermo-optical OC/EC results may underread EC (and hence overread OC), whether either transmittance or reflectance is used for the pyrolysis correction, and this effect is significant at rural sites.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.06.041
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 1 - Monitoring and Interpretation of Biogeochemical and Climate Changes > BGC - 1.4 - Develop innovative, effective methods for monitoring fluxes, exposure and effects
CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biogeochemistry > BGC Topic 1 - Monitoring and Interpretation of Biogeochemical and Climate Changes > BGC - 1.1 - Monitor concentrations, fluxes, physico-chemical forms of current and emerging pollutants ...
CEH Sections: Billett (to November 2013)
ISSN: 1352-2310
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: The original publication is available at www.elsevier.com
Additional Keywords: Black Smoke, Black Carbon, Organic Carbon, Elemental Carbon, air quality, UK
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 20 Oct 2009 10:47
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/7602

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