The anthropogenic influence on carbonaceous aerosol in the European background

Barbara May, Dietmar Wagenbach, Samuel Hammer, Peter Steier, Hans Puxbaum, Casimiro Pio
2009 Tellus: Series B, Chemical and Physical Meteorology  
A B S T R A C T To constrain the relatively uncertain anthropogenic impact on the organic aerosol load, radiocarbon analyses were performed on aerosol samples, collected year-round, at six non-urban sites including a maritime background and three remote mountain stations, lying on a west-east transect over Western Europe. From a crude three component model supported by TOC and levoglucosan filter data, the fossil fuel, biomass burning and biogenic TOC fraction are estimated, showing at all
more » ... showing at all stations year-round, a relatively constant fossil fuel fraction of around (26 ± 6)%, a dominant biogenic contribution of on average (73 ± 7)% in summer and the continental as well as the maritime background TOC to be only about 50% biogenic. Assuming biomass burning as completely anthropogenic, the carbonaceous aerosol concentration at the mountain sites was found to have increased by a factor of up to (1.4 ± 0.2) in summer and up to (2.5 ± 1.0) in winter. This figure is significantly lower, however, than the respective TOC change since pre-industrial times seen in an Alpine ice core. Reconciling both observations would require an increase, since pre-industrial times, of the background biogenic aerosol load, which is estimated at a factor of 1.3-1.7.
doi:10.1111/j.1600-0889.2008.00379.x fatcat:r2iw6mmtzvevllas7v5t65oftm