Alkali-containing submicron particles were measured continuously during three months, including late winter and spring seasons in Gothenburg, Sweden. The overall aims were to characterize the ambient concentrations of combustion-related aerosol particles and to address the importance of local emissions and long-range transport for atmospheric concentrations in the urban background environment. K and Na concentrations in the particulate matter PM1
size range were measured by an Alkali aerosol mass spectrometer (Alkali-AMS) and a cluster analysis was conducted. Local meteorological conditions and trace gas and PM concentrations were also obtained for a nearby location. In addition, back trajectory analyses and chemical transport model (CTM) simulations were included for the evaluation. The Alkali-AMS cluster analysis indicated three major clusters: (1) biomass burning origin, (2) mixture of other combustion sources, and (3) marine origin. Low temperatures and low wind speed conditions correlated with high concentrations of K-containing particles, mainly owing to local and regional emissions from residential biomass combustion; transport of air masses from continental Europe also contribute to Cluster 1. The CTM results indicate that open biomass burning in the eastern parts of Europe may have contributed substantially to high PM2.5
concentrations (and to Cluster 1) during an episode in late March. According to the CTM results, the mixed cluster (2) is likely to include particles emitted from different source types and no single geographical source region seems to dominate for this cluster. The back trajectory analysis and meteorological conditions indicated that the marine origin cluster was correlated with westerly winds and high wind speed; this cluster had high concentrations of Na-containing particles, as expected for sea salt particles.
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