The Observatoire Pérenne de l'Environnement (OPE) station is a rural background site located in North-Eastern France. Besides emissions from agricultural activities, the site is located far from local emissions but at an even distance from the intense emission zones of Western Germany to the north-east and the Paris area to the south-west. In the paper, we report and analyze almost six years of measurements (1 May 2012 to 31 December 2018) of the optical and physical properties of aerosol particles. Based on aerosol optical and physical measurements combined with air mass back-trajectories, we investigate the dependence of these properties on air mass type. Two distinct equivalent black carbon (EBC) sources—origins-fossil fuel (FF) and biomass burning (BB)— were identified. FF was the dominant source of EBC (>70%) but showed a very marked seasonal variation. BB fraction is found higher during the cold seasons in the order of 35% (0.1 µg m−3) against 17% (0.05 µg m−3) during the warm seasons. The highest EBC and N0.54–1.15 (particles whose diameter ranged from 0.54 to 1.15 µm) median concentrations were observed during the night time and during the cold seasons compared to the warmer seasons, indicating primary sources trapped within a thin boundary layer (BL). A different behavior is found for N10–550 (particles whose diameter ranged from 10 to 550 nm) and coarse mode particles (N1.15–4.5, i.e. particles whose diameter ranged from 1.15 to 4.5 µm) median concentrations, which were observed during the warm seasons compared to the cold seasons, indicating rather biogenic secondary sources for the smaller particles, and potentially primary biogenic sources for the coarse mode particles. The scattering and absorption coefficients and single scattering albedo (SSA) show the same seasonal variations like the ones of N0.54–1.15 concentrations, indicating that particles larger than 500 nm seemed to contribute the most to the optical properties of the aerosol.
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