Articles | Volume 6, issue 12
Research article
23 Dec 2013
Research article |  | 23 Dec 2013

SoFi, an IGOR-based interface for the efficient use of the generalized multilinear engine (ME-2) for the source apportionment: ME-2 application to aerosol mass spectrometer data

F. Canonaco, M. Crippa, J. G. Slowik, U. Baltensperger, and A. S. H. Prévôt

Abstract. Source apportionment using the bilinear model through a multilinear engine (ME-2) was successfully applied to non-refractory organic aerosol (OA) mass spectra collected during the winter of 2011 and 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland using the aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM). Five factors were identified: low-volatility oxygenated OA (LV-OOA), semivolatile oxygenated OA (SV-OOA), hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), cooking OA (COA) and biomass burning OA (BBOA). A graphical user interface SoFi (Source Finder) was developed at PSI in order to facilitate the testing of different rotational techniques available within the ME-2 engine by providing a priori factor profiles for some or all of the expected factors. ME-2 was used to test the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model, the fully constrained chemical mass balance (CMB) model, and partially constrained models utilizing a values and pulling equations. Within the set of model solutions determined to be environmentally reasonable, BBOA and SV-OOA factor mass spectra and time series showed the greatest variability. This variability represents the uncertainty in the model solution and indicates that analysis of model rotations provides a useful approach for assessing the uncertainty of bilinear source apportionment models.