Kerb and urban increment of highly time-resolved trace elements in PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 winter aerosol in London during ClearfLo 2012

S Visser, J G Slowik, M Furger, P Zotter, N Bukowiecki, R Dressler, U Flechsig, K Appel, D C Green, A H Tremper, D E Young, P I Williams, J D Allan, S C Herndon, L R Williams, C Mohr, L Xu, N L Ng, A Detournay, J F BarlowC H Halios, Z L Fleming, U Baltensperger, A S H Prevot

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Ambient concentrations of trace elements with 2 h time resolution were measured in PM10-2.5, PM2.5-1.0 and PM1.0-0.3 size ranges at kerbside, urban background and rural sites in London during winter 2012. Samples were collected using rotating drum impactors (RDIs) and subsequently analysed with synchrotron radiation-induced X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (SR-XRF). Quantification of kerb and urban increments (defined as kerb-to-urban and urban-to-rural concentration ratios, respectively), and assessment of diurnal and weekly variability provided insight into sources governing urban air quality and the effects of urban microenvironments on human exposure. Traffic-related elements yielded the highest kerb increments, with values in the range of 10.4 to 16.6 for SW winds (3.3-6.9 for NE) observed for elements influenced by brake wear (e.g. Cu, Sb, Ba) and 5.7 to 8.2 for SW (2.6-3.0 for NE) for other traffic-related processes (e.g. Cr, Fe, Zn). Kerb increments for these elements were highest in the PM10-2.5 mass fraction, roughly twice that of the PM1.0-0.3 fraction. These elements also showed the highest urban increments (similar to 3.0), although no difference was observed between brake wear and other traffic-related elements. All elements influenced by traffic exhibited higher concentrations during morning and evening rush hours, and on weekdays compared to weekends, with the strongest trends observed at the kerbside site, and additionally enhanced by winds coming directly from the road, consistent with street canyon effects. Elements related to mineral dust (e.g. Al, Si, Ca, Sr) showed significant influences from traffic-induced resuspension, as evidenced by moderate kerb (3.4-5.4 for SW, 1.7-2.3 for NE) and urban (similar to 2) increments and increased concentrations during peak traffic flow. Elements related to regional transport showed no significant enhancement at kerb or urban sites, with the exception of PM10-2.5 sea salt (factor of up to 2), which may be influenced by traffic-induced resuspension of sea and/or road salt. Heavy-duty vehicles appeared to have a larger effect than passenger vehicles on the concentrations of all elements influenced by resuspension (including sea salt) and wearing processes. Trace element concentrations in London were influenced by both local and regional sources, with coarse and intermediate fractions dominated by traffic-induced resuspension and wearing processes and fine particles influenced by regional transport.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2367-2386
    Number of pages20
    JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


    • fine particulate matter
    • source apportionment
    • chemical-composition
    • air-pollution
    • particle composition
    • multilinear engine
    • mass-spectrometer
    • size distribution
    • synchrotron-xrf
    • high-resolution


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