11 Apr 2022
11 Apr 2022
Status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Source apportionment of black carbon and combustion-related CO2 for the determination of source-specific emission factors

Balint Alfoldy1, Asta Gregorič1,2, Matic Ivančič1, Irena Ježek1, and Martin Rigler1 Balint Alfoldy et al.
  • 1Aerosol d.o.o, Ljubljana, SI-1000, Slovenia
  • 2Center for Atmospheric Research, University of Nova Gorica, Vipavska 13, Nova Gorica, Sl-5000, Slovenia

Abstract. Black carbon aerosol (BC) typically has two major sources in the urban environment; traffic, and domestic biomass burning which has a significant contribution to urban air pollution during the heating season. Traffic emissions have been widely studied by both laboratory experiments (individual vehicle emission) and real-world measurement campaigns (fleet emission). However, emission information from biomass burning is limited, especially an insufficiency of experimental results from real-world studies. In this work, the black carbon burden in the urban atmosphere was apportioned to fossil fuel (FF) and biomass burning (BB) related components using the Aethalometer source apportionment model. Applying the BC source apportionment information, the combustion-related CO2 was apportioned by multi-linear regression analysis, supposing that both CO2 components should be correlated with their corresponding BC component. The combination of the Aethalometer model with the multi-linear regression analysis (AM-MLR) provided the source-specific emission ratios (ER) as the slope of the corresponding BC-CO2 regression. Based on the ER values, the source-specific emission factors (EFs) were determined using the carbon content of the corresponding fuel. The analysis has been carried out on a three-month long BC and CO2 dataset collected at three monitoring locations in Ljubljana, Slovenia, between December 2019 and March 2020. The measured mean site-specific concentration values were in the 3500–4800 ng m-3 and 458–472 ppm range for BC and CO2, respectively. The determined average EFs for BC were 0.39 and 0.16 g/(kg fuel) for traffic and biomass burning, respectively. It was also concluded that the traffic-related BC component dominates the black carbon concentration (55–65 % depending on the location), while heating has the major share in the combustion-related CO2 (53–62 % depending on the location). The method gave essential information on the source-specific emission factors of BC and CO2, enabling better characterization of urban anthropogenic emissions and the respective measures that may change the anthropogenic emission fingerprint.

Balint Alfoldy et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on amt-2022-53', Anonymous Referee #1, 18 Apr 2022
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Balint Alfoldy, 03 Oct 2022
  • RC2: 'Comment on amt-2022-53', Anonymous Referee #2, 30 Jun 2022
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Balint Alfoldy, 03 Oct 2022

Balint Alfoldy et al.

Balint Alfoldy et al.


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Short summary
Atmospheric concentrations and source apportionment (SA) of black carbon (BC) and CO2 were determined in urban environment during heating season. BC particles were attributed to 2 major sources: traffic, and heating. The BC SA was implemented by the Aethalometer model that was used for the SA of CO2 supposing that the source-specific CO2 components are correlated with the corresponding BC. Source-specific emission factors were determined as the ratio of the corresponding BC and CO2 components.