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Black Carbon and Organic Components in the Atmosphere of Southern Italy: Comparing Emissions from Different Sources and Production Processes of Carbonaceous Particles

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Volume: 12 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1146-1156
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2011.12.0236
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Giulia Pavese1, Mariarosaria Calvello1, Francesco Esposito 2

  • 1 IMAA-National Council of Researches, Tito Scalo, PZ 85050, Italy
  • 2 DIFA-Università della Basilicata, Potenza, PZ 85100, Italy


Initial measurements of black carbon (BC) content at both 880 and 370 nm, obtained in two sites in southern Italy by an aethalometer, have been analyzed. The sites are located in the same region (Basilicata), but are affected by different emission sources. In one case the main source of BC is related to vehicular traffic from a nearby freeway. Data were collected, although not continuously, during 2008, 2009 and 2010. In the second case, a fresh crude-oil pre-treatment plant continuously burns petroleum-derived products, thus contributing to emissions of both carbonaceous matter and its organic component. The corresponding data-set was collected in the period January–April 2011. At the first site, two daily peaks were found for the BC content, typical of vehicles emissions, with maximum values ranging from 2000 ng/m3 to 4700 ng/m3 found during weekdays. This behavior disappears at the weekend or when polluted air-masses from north-east Europe are transported over the measurement site. At the second site, two daily peaks were never found, suggesting that crude oil chemical processes were the main source of the emissions. In this case, the maximum BC values ranged between 1000–8000 ng/m3, depending on the processes occurring at the fresh crude-oil pre-treatment plant. Moreover, the estimated level of BC at 370 nm was higher than that of BC at 880 nm in all months, expect for April, indicating a clear organic component in atmospheric aerosols. Finally, based on a best-fit procedure applied to the seven wavelengths’ absorption coefficients, aerosols with different spectroscopic properties have been detected at these two sites.


Black carbon Organic fraction Aethalometer Atmospheric aerosol

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