Impact of meteorology on fine aerosols at Lucas Heights, Australia

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Ion Beam Analysis (IBA) techniques were used to assign nine years of PM2.5 observations to seven source types, at Lucas Heights, a topographically complex urban fringe site of Sydney. The highest contributions to total PM2.5 were from motor vehicles (Autos, 26.3%), secondary sulfur (2ndryS, 23.7%), a mixture of industry and aged sea air (IndSaged, 20.6%), and smoke (Smoke, 13.7%). The Autos contribution was highest in winter, whereas 2ndryS was highest in summer, indicating that mitigation measures targeting SO2 release in summer and vehicle exhaust in winter would be most effective in reducing the PM2.5 concentrations at this site. Since concentrations of particulate matter can be significantly affected by local meteorology, generalised additive model (GAM) techniques were employed to investigate relationships between PM2.5 source types and meteorological conditions. The GAM predictors used included: time (seasonal to inter-annual variations), mixing layer depth, temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, and atmospheric pressure. Meteorological influences on PM2.5 variability were found to be 58% for soil dust, 46% for Autos, 41% for total PM2.5, and 35% for 2ndryS. Effects were much smaller for other source types. Temperature was found to be an important variable for the determination of total PM2.5, 2ndryS, IndSaged, Soil and Smoke, indicating that future changes in temperature are likely to have an associated change in aerosol concentrations. However, the impact on different source types varied. Temperature had the highest impact on 2ndryS (sometimes more than a factor of 4 increase for temperatures above 25 °C compared to temperatures under 10 °C) and IndSaged, being predominantly secondary aerosols formed in the atmosphere from precursors, whereas wind speed and wind direction were more important for the determination of vehicle exhaust and fresh sea salt concentrations. The marginal effect of relative humidity on 2ndryS increased up to relative humidity of 70–80% and then plateaued, confirming previous findings that (NH4)2SO4 is present in the solid phase below relative humidity of about 80%. © 2016, Elsevier Ltd.
Meteorology, Aerosols, Australia, Ion beams, Soils, Smokes
Crawford, J., Chanbers, S., Cohen, D. D., Williams, A., Griffiths, A., Stelcer, E., & Dyer, L. (2016). Impact of meteorology on fine aerosols at Lucas Heights, Australia. Atmospheric Environment, 145, 135-146. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2016.09.025