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Issue 5, 2010
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Characterisation of individual aerosol particles on moss surfaces: implications for source apportionment

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Abstract

The size, morphology and chemical composition of 8405 particles on moss surfaces (Hylocomium splendens) was investigated by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis. Two moss samples from three locations in Southern Norway (Ålgård, Birkeland, Neslandsvatn) and two sampling years (1977 and 2005) each were selected leading to a total of 12 samples investigated. At all three locations, particle deposition decreased substantially with time. The major particle groups encountered include silicates, iron-rich silicates, metal oxides/hydroxides, iron oxides/hydroxides, carbonates, carbon-rich particles, silicate fly ashes, iron-rich silicate fly ashes, and iron oxide fly ashes. Between 1977 and 2005, the relative number abundance of the three fly ash groups decreased substantially from approximately 30–60% to 10–18% for the small particles (equivalent projected area diameter <1 µm), and from 10–35% to 2–9% for large particles with diameters ≥1 µm. This decrease of fly ash particles with time was overlooked in previous papers on atmospheric input of pollutants into ecosystems in Southern Norway. In general, the presence of fly ash particles is ignored in most source apportionment studies based on bulk chemical analysis. Consequently, the geogenic component (crustal component) derived from principal component analysis is overestimated systematically, as it has a similar chemical composition as the fly ash particles. The high abundance of fly ashes demonstrates the need to complement source apportionment based on bulk chemistry by scanning electron microscopy in order to avoid misclassification of this important anthropogenic aerosol component.

Graphical abstract: Characterisation of individual aerosol particles on moss surfaces: implications for source apportionment

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Publication details

The article was received on 06 Jan 2010, accepted on 09 Feb 2010 and first published on 26 Feb 2010


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B926876F
Citation: J. Environ. Monit., 2010,12, 1064-1071
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    Characterisation of individual aerosol particles on moss surfaces: implications for source apportionment

    S. Weinbruch, M. Ebert, H. Gorzawski, T. Dirsch, T. Berg and E. Steinnes, J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 1064
    DOI: 10.1039/B926876F

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