The purpose of this study is to obtain a detailed picture of the spatial and seasonal variability of carbonaceous matter in southern Poland. Particulate matter (PM) samples from eight selected urban and rural background sites were analyzed for organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) (thermal-optical method, “eusaar_2” protocol), and the content of secondary (SOC) and primary organic carbon (POC) was estimated. The OC and EC dynamics were further studied using each of the thermally-derived carbon fractions (OC1–4, PC, and EC1–4). Clear spatiotemporal variability of carbonaceous compounds concentrations was observed, with higher levels recorded during the heating season. The considered measurement sites differed particularly in the shares of SOC and POC, with higher values of POC contents especially in rural areas. In terms of the content of carbon fractions, the analyzed sites showed roughly the same characteristics, with PC, OC4, and OC2 as dominant fractions of OC and with clear dominance of EC3 and EC2 over other EC fractions. The results obtained as part of this work may be a valuable source of information about the actual status of the carbonaceous matter, which remains one of the least known components of atmospheric PM.
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