Chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols during the 2003 summer intense forest fire period

C. A. Pio, M. Legrand, C. A. Alves, T. Oliveira, J. Afonso, A. Caseiro, H. Puxbaum, A. Sanchez-Ochoa, A. Gelencsér

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

165 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In Portugal, during summer 2003, unusually large forested areas (>300,000 ha) were destroyed by fire, emitting pollutants to the atmosphere. During this period, aerosol samples were collected in the Aveiro region, and analysed for total mass and a set of inorganic and organic compounds, including tracers of biomass burning. Comparisons of aerosol size distributions, levels of particulate mass and chemical aerosol composition between heavily smoke-impacted periods and the rest of the summer permit to evaluate the contribution of forest fires to the regional aerosol load. The absolute and relative variability of the particulate inorganic and organic constituents were used to evaluate the importance of wildfires as emission sources responsible for the presence of compounds such as molecular tracers in the summer atmosphere. From organic carbon to levoglucosan or to potassium ratios it was estimated that 40-55% of primary organic carbon could be attributed to wood smoke. The large fraction of secondary organic carbon suggested that forest fires may strongly contribute to gas-to-particle processes. It was found a better correlation of organic carbon with potassium than with levoglucosan, indicating that, during more complete combustive processes, potassium is possibly a more reasonable biomass burning tracer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7530-7543
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume42
Issue number32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008

Fingerprint

Atmospheric aerosols
Organic carbon
forest fire
Aerosols
Fires
chemical composition
organic carbon
aerosol
Potassium
potassium
tracer
summer
biomass burning
Chemical analysis
Smoke
smoke
Biomass
Inorganic compounds
aerosol composition
inorganic compound

Keywords

  • Atmospheric aerosols
  • Diacids
  • Forest fires
  • Levoglucosan
  • Monosugars
  • Polyols
  • Portugal
  • Potassium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)

Cite this

Chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols during the 2003 summer intense forest fire period. / Pio, C. A.; Legrand, M.; Alves, C. A.; Oliveira, T.; Afonso, J.; Caseiro, A.; Puxbaum, H.; Sanchez-Ochoa, A.; Gelencsér, A.

In: Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 42, No. 32, 10.2008, p. 7530-7543.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pio, CA, Legrand, M, Alves, CA, Oliveira, T, Afonso, J, Caseiro, A, Puxbaum, H, Sanchez-Ochoa, A & Gelencsér, A 2008, 'Chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols during the 2003 summer intense forest fire period', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 42, no. 32, pp. 7530-7543. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.05.032
Pio, C. A. ; Legrand, M. ; Alves, C. A. ; Oliveira, T. ; Afonso, J. ; Caseiro, A. ; Puxbaum, H. ; Sanchez-Ochoa, A. ; Gelencsér, A. / Chemical composition of atmospheric aerosols during the 2003 summer intense forest fire period. In: Atmospheric Environment. 2008 ; Vol. 42, No. 32. pp. 7530-7543.
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