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Source apportionment and location by selective wind sampling and Positive Matrix Factorization

Venturini, Elisa, Vassura, Ivano, Raffo, Simona, Ferroni, Laura, Bernardi, Elena, Passarini, Fabrizio
Environmental science and pollution research international 2014 v.21 no.20 pp. 11634-11648
aerosols, air, biomass, cadmium, carbon, combustion, ions, lead, manufacturing, natural gas, nickel, pollution, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, samplers, suburban areas, temperature, toxicity, traffic, vehicles (equipment), wind
In order to determine the pollution sources in a suburban area and identify the main direction of their origin, PM₂.₅ was collected with samplers coupled with a wind select sensor and then subjected to Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) analysis. In each sample, soluble ions, organic carbon, elemental carbon, levoglucosan, metals, and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined. PMF results identified six main sources affecting the area: natural gas home appliances, motor vehicles, regional transport, biomass combustion, manufacturing activities, and secondary aerosol. The connection of factor temporal trends with other parameters (i.e., temperature, PM₂.₅ concentration, and photochemical processes) confirms factor attributions. PMF analysis indicated that the main source of PM₂.₅ in the area is secondary aerosol. This should be mainly due to regional contributions, owing to both the secondary nature of the source itself and the higher concentration registered in inland air masses. The motor vehicle emission source contribution is also important. This source likely has a prevalent local origin. The most toxic determined components, i.e., PAHs, Cd, Pb, and Ni, are mainly due to vehicular traffic. Even if this is not the main source in the study area, it is the one of greatest concern. The application of PMF analysis to PM₂.₅ collected with this new sampling technique made it possible to obtain more detailed results on the sources affecting the area compared to a classical PMF analysis.