Special Issue "Urban Atmospheric Aerosols: Sources, Analysis and Effects"

A special issue of Atmosphere (ISSN 2073-4433). This special issue belongs to the section "Aerosols".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2019).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Regina Duarte
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry & CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: atmospheric particulate matter; organic aerosols; water-soluble organic aerosols; structural and molecular characterization; source signatures; dry and wet atmospheric deposition; atmospheric stressors; one- and two-dimensional NMR aerosol source fingerprinting
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Armando da Costa Duarte
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry & CESAM, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: environmental and analytical chemistry; natural organic matter; nano- and microplastics; structural characterization; molecular tracers; chemical speciation; optical fiber sensors and nanosensors
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5, diameter less than 2.5 µm) has profound effects on radiative climate forcing, atmospheric chemistry, air quality and visibility, and human health. The PM2.5 can be directly emitted into the atmosphere (primary aerosols) or formed in the atmosphere by photochemical reactions of gaseous species (secondary aerosols). The physical and chemical characterization of PM2.5, its source apportionment, and the assessment of the magnitude and distribution of PM2.5 emissions is crucial in establishing effective fine air particles regulations and assessing the associated risks to human health.

Due to growing urbanization, urban areas are a very special case as far as PM2.5 concentrations, composition, sources, and health effects are concerned. The physical and chemical properties of urban PM2.5 (e.g., atmospheric concentration, size (fine- and ultrafine particles), surface area, chemical composition, and water-solubility) can influence the magnitude of adverse health effects. Therefore, it is highly desirable to conduct studies on the physico-chemical and toxicological characterization of urban PM2.5 in order to assess health effects and to establish efficient control strategies. Furthermore, understanding how urban aerosols affect the air quality of indoor environments in urban buildings is essential in assessing the potential health effects. Hence, much work is still needed to enhance our understanding of the chemical composition, size distribution, source apportionment, and indoor–outdoor relationships of PM2.5 in urban areas and their health consequences upon exposure.

In this Special Issue, manuscripts on all aspects of urban atmospheric aerosols, namely sources, analysis, and effects, are welcome.

Dr. Regina Duarte
Prof. Armando da Costa Duarte
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • urban atmospheric aerosols
  • primary and secondary urban organic aerosols
  • chemical composition
  • toxic elements
  • fine and ultrafine urban air particles
  • urban emissions inventory
  • urban air quality
  • urban indoor air pollution
  • health effects

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Urban Atmospheric Aerosols: Sources, Analysis, and Effects
Atmosphere 2020, 11(11), 1221; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11111221 - 12 Nov 2020
Abstract
Atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2 [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Levels and Sources of Atmospheric Particle-Bound Mercury in Atmospheric Particulate Matter (PM10) at Several Sites of an Atlantic Coastal European Region
Atmosphere 2020, 11(1), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11010033 - 27 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Atmospheric particle-bound mercury (PHg) quantification, at a pg m−3 level, has been assessed in particulate matter samples (PM10) at several sites (industrial, urban and sub-urban sites) of Atlantic coastal European region during 13 months by using a direct thermo-desorption method. [...] Read more.
Atmospheric particle-bound mercury (PHg) quantification, at a pg m−3 level, has been assessed in particulate matter samples (PM10) at several sites (industrial, urban and sub-urban sites) of Atlantic coastal European region during 13 months by using a direct thermo-desorption method. Analytical method validation was assessed using 1648a and ERM CZ120 reference materials. The limits of detection and quantification were 0.25 pg m−3 and 0.43 pg m−3, respectively. Repeatability of the method was generally below 12.6%. PHg concentrations varied between 1.5–30.8, 1.5–75.3 and 2.27–33.7 pg m−3 at urban, sub-urban and industrial sites, respectively. PHg concentration varied from 7.2 pg m−3 (urban site) to 16.3 pg m−3 (suburban site) during winter season, while PHg concentrations varied from 9.9 pg m−3 (urban site) to 19.3 pg m−3 (suburban site) during the summer. Other trace elements, major ions, black carbon (BC) and UV-absorbing particulate matter (UV PM) was also assessed at several sites. Average concentrations for trace metals (Al, As, Bi, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Sb, Si, Sr, V and Zn) ranged from 0.08 ng m−3 (Bi) at suburban site to 1.11 µg m−3 (Fe) at industrial site. Average concentrations for major ions (including Na+, K+, Ca2+, NH4+, Mg2+, Cl, NO3 and SO42−) ranged from 200 ng m−3 (K+) to 5332 ng m−3 (SO42−) at urban site, 166 ng m−3 (Mg2+) to 4425 ng m−3 (SO42−) at suburban site and 592 ng m−3 (K+) to 5853 ng m−3 (Cl) at industrial site. Results of univariate analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) suggested crustal, marine and anthropogenic sources of PHg in PM10 at several sites studied. Toxicity prediction of PHg, by using hazard quotient, suggested no non-carcinogenic risk for adults. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Household Dust: Loadings and PM10-Bound Plasticizers and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
Atmosphere 2019, 10(12), 785; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10120785 - 06 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Residential dust is recognized as a major source of environmental contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and plasticizers, such as phthalic acid esters (PAEs). A sampling campaign was carried out to characterize the dust fraction of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter smaller [...] Read more.
Residential dust is recognized as a major source of environmental contaminants, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and plasticizers, such as phthalic acid esters (PAEs). A sampling campaign was carried out to characterize the dust fraction of particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 10 µm (PM10), using an in situ resuspension chamber in three rooms (kitchen, living room, and bedroom) of four Spanish houses. Two samples per room were collected with, at least, a one-week interval. The PM10 samples were analyzed for their carbonaceous content by a thermo-optical technique and, after solvent extraction, for 20 PAHs, 8 PAEs and one non-phthalate plasticizer (DEHA) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. In general, higher dust loads were observed for parquet flooring as compared with tile. The highest dust loads were obtained for rugs. Total carbon accounted for 9.3 to 51 wt% of the PM10 mass. Plasticizer mass fractions varied from 5 µg g−1 to 17 mg g−1 PM10, whereas lower contributions were registered for PAHs (0.98 to 116 µg g−1). The plasticizer and PAH daily intakes for children and adults via dust ingestion were estimated to be three to four orders of magnitude higher than those via inhalation and dermal contact. The thoracic fraction of household dust was estimated to contribute to an excess of 7.2 to 14 per million people new cancer cases, which exceeds the acceptable risk of one per million. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Aerosol Particle Size Characterization in Eastern Mediterranean Conditions
Atmosphere 2019, 10(11), 710; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10110710 - 14 Nov 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Characterization of urban particle number size distribution (PNSD) has been rarely reported/performed in the Middle East. Therefore, we aimed at characterizing the PNSD (0.01–10 µm) in Amman as an example for an urban Middle Eastern environment. The daily mean submicron particle [...] Read more.
Characterization of urban particle number size distribution (PNSD) has been rarely reported/performed in the Middle East. Therefore, we aimed at characterizing the PNSD (0.01–10 µm) in Amman as an example for an urban Middle Eastern environment. The daily mean submicron particle number concentration (PNSub) was 6.5 × 103–7.7 × 104 cm−3 and the monthly mean coarse mode particle number concentration (PNCoarse) was 0.9–3.8 cm−3 and both had distinguished seasonal variation. The PNSub also had a clear diurnal and weekly cycle with higher concentrations on workdays (Sunday–Thursday; over 3.3 × 104 cm−3) than on weekends (below 2.7 × 104 cm−3). The PNSub constitute of 93% ultrafine fraction (diameter < 100 nm). The mean particle number size distributions was characterized with four well-separated submicron modes (Dpg,I, Ni): nucleation (22 nm, 9.4 × 103 cm−3), Aitken (62 nm, 3.9 × 103 cm−3), accumulation (225 nm, 158 cm−3), and coarse (2.23 µm, 1.2 cm−3) in addition to a mode with small geometric mean diameter (GMD) that represented the early stage of new particle formation (NPF) events. The wind speed and temperature had major impacts on the concentrations. The PNCoarse had a U-shape with respect to wind speed and PNSub decreased with wind speed. The effect of temperature and relative humidity was complex and require further investigations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation and Accuracy Assessment of MODIS C6.1 Aerosol Products over the Heavy Aerosol Loading Area
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10090548 - 14 Sep 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
The aim of this study is to evaluate the accuracy of MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical depth (AOD) products over heavy aerosol loading areas. For this analysis, the Terra-MODIS Collection 6.1 (C6.1) Dark Target (DT), Deep Blue (DB) and the combined [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to evaluate the accuracy of MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical depth (AOD) products over heavy aerosol loading areas. For this analysis, the Terra-MODIS Collection 6.1 (C6.1) Dark Target (DT), Deep Blue (DB) and the combined DT/DB AOD products for the years 2000–2016 are used. These products are validated using AErosol RObotic NETwork (AERONET) data from twenty-three ground sites situated in high aerosol loading areas and with available measurements at least 500 days. The results show that the numbers of collections (N) of DB and DT/DB retrievals were much higher than that of DT, which was mainly caused by unavailable retrieval of DT in bright reflecting surface and heavy pollution conditions. The percentage falling within the expected error (PWE) of the DT retrievals (45.6%) is lower than that for the DB (53.4%) and DT/DB (53.1%) retrievals. The DB retrievals have 5.3% less average overestimation, and 25.7% higher match ratio than DT/DB retrievals. It is found that the current merged aerosol algorithm will miss some cases if it is determined only on the basis of normalized difference vegetation index. As the AOD increases, the value of PWE of the three products decreases significantly; the undervaluation is suppressed, and the overestimation is aggravated. The retrieval accuracy shows distinct seasonality: the PWE is largest in autumn or winter, and smallest in summer. The most severe overestimation and underestimation occurred in the summer. Moreover, the DT, DB and DT/DB products over different land cover types still exhibit obvious deviations. In urban areas, the PWE of DB product (52.6%) is higher than for the DT/DB (46.3%) and DT (25.2%) products. The DT retrievals perform poorly over the barren or sparsely vegetated area (N = 52). However, the performance of three products is similar over vegetated area. On the whole, the DB product performs better than the DT product over the heavy aerosol loading area. Full article
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
Chemical Characteristics of PM2.5 and Water-Soluble Organic Nitrogen in Yangzhou, China
Atmosphere 2019, 10(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10040178 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Chemical characterization of fine atmospheric particles (PM2.5) is important for effective reduction of air pollution. This work analyzed PM2.5 samples collected in Yangzhou, China, during 2016. Ionic species, organic matter (OM), elemental carbon (EC), and trace metals were determined, and [...] Read more.
Chemical characterization of fine atmospheric particles (PM2.5) is important for effective reduction of air pollution. This work analyzed PM2.5 samples collected in Yangzhou, China, during 2016. Ionic species, organic matter (OM), elemental carbon (EC), and trace metals were determined, and an Aerodyne soot-particle aerosol mass spectrometer (SP-AMS) was introduced to determine the OM mass, rather than only organic carbon mass. We found that inorganic ionic species was dominant (~52%), organics occupied about 1/4, while trace metals (~1%) and EC (~2.1%) contributed insignificantly to the total PM2.5 mass. Water-soluble OM appeared to link closely with secondary OM, while water-insoluble OM correlated well with primary OM. The PM2.5 concentrations were relatively low during summertime, while its compositions varied little among different months. Seasonal variations of water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON) concentrations were not significant, while the mass contributions of WSON to total nitrogen were remarkably high during summer and autumn. WSON was found to associate better with secondary sources based on both correlation analyses and principle component analyses. Analyses of potential source contributions to WSON showed that regional emissions were dominant during autumn and winter, while the ocean became relatively important during spring and summer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial and Temporal Distribution of Aerosol Optical Depth and Its Relationship with Urbanization in Shandong Province
Atmosphere 2019, 10(3), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10030110 - 01 Mar 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
In the process of rapid urbanization, air environment quality has become a hot issue. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) can be used to monitor air pollution effectively. In this paper, the Spearman coefficient is used to analyze the [...] Read more.
In the process of rapid urbanization, air environment quality has become a hot issue. Aerosol optical depth (AOD) from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) can be used to monitor air pollution effectively. In this paper, the Spearman coefficient is used to analyze the correlations between AOD and urban development, construction factors, and geographical environment factors in Shandong Province. The correlation between AOD and local climatic conditions in Shandong Province is analyzed by geographic weight regression (GWR). The results show that in the time period from 2007 to 2017, the AOD first rose and then fell, reaching its highest level in 2012, which is basically consistent with the time when the national environmental protection decree was issued. In terms of quarterly and monthly changes, AOD also rose first and then fell, the highest level in summer, with the highest monthly value occurring in June. In term of the spatial distribution, the high-value area is located in the northwestern part of Shandong Province, and the low-value area is located in the eastern coastal area. In terms of social factors, the correlation between pollutant emissions and AOD is much greater the correlations between AOD and population, economy, and construction indicators. In terms of environmental factors, the relationship between digital elevation model (DEM), temperature, precipitation, and AOD is significant, but the regulation of air in coastal areas is even greater. Finally, it was found that there are no obvious differences in AOD among cities with different development levels, which indicates that urban development does not inevitably lead to air pollution. Reasonable development planning and the introduction of targeted environmental protection policies can effectively alleviate pollution-related problems in the process of urbanization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics and Source Apportionment of Metallic Elements in PM2.5 at Urban and Suburban Sites in Beijing: Implication of Emission Reduction
Atmosphere 2019, 10(3), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos10030105 - 26 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
To gain insights into the impacts of emission reduction measures on the characteristics and sources of trace elements during the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, PM2.5 samples were simultaneously collected from an urban site and a suburban site in Beijing from [...] Read more.
To gain insights into the impacts of emission reduction measures on the characteristics and sources of trace elements during the 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, PM2.5 samples were simultaneously collected from an urban site and a suburban site in Beijing from September 15th to November 12th, and fifteen metallic elements were analyzed, including five crustal elements (Mg, Al, K, Ca and Fe), nine trace metals (V, Cr, Mn, Co, Cu, Zn, Ag, Cd and Pb) and As. Most of the trace metals (V, Cr, Mn, As, Cd and Pb) decreased more than 40% due to the emission regulations during APEC, while the crustal elements decreased considerably (4–45%). Relative to the daytime, trace metals increased during the nighttime at both sites before the APEC summit, but no significant difference was observed during the APEC summit, suggesting suppressed emissions from anthropogenic activities. Five sources (dust, traffic exhaust, industrial sources, coal and oil combustion and biomass burning) were resolved using positive matrix factorization (PMF), which were collectively decreased by 30.7% at the urban site and 14.4% at the suburban site during the APEC summit. Coal and oil combustion regulations were the most effective for reducing the trace elements concentrations (urban site: 63.1%; suburban site: 52.0%), followed by measures to reduce traffic exhaust (52.8%) at the urban site and measures to reduce biomass burning (37.7%) at the suburban site. Our results signify that future control efforts of metallic elements in megacities like Beijing should prioritize coal and oil combustion, as well as traffic emissions. Full article
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