Total suspended particulate (TSP) samples were collected weekly over a period of one year at four European sites during 1995/6. Two sites were in London—a Central London site (CL, St Paul’s Cathedral) and a suburban North London site (NL, Bounds Green); the other two sites were in Porto, Portugal and Vienna, Austria. TSP was collected using a low volume sampler. Organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) concentrations were measured using a thermal–optical carbon analyser. Parallel samplers collected TSP for subsequent GC-MS analysis of thirty-nine combustion-associated organic compounds; 16 polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and 23 n-alkanes. OC and EC correlate well at all sites (r2
= 0.39–0.65), although the London inter-site correlations were low, suggesting that local sources of OC and EC have a significant influence on local concentrations. Concentrations do not vary widely across the four urban sites, despite the significant differences in urban characteristics. Seasonal patterns of OC∶EC ratios were similar at the London and Vienna sites, with highest ratios in autumn and winter, and annual mean OC∶EC ratios were identical at these sites. The Carbon Preference Index (CPI) indicated vehicle emissions to have a stronger influence over particulate concentrations at the Vienna and central London sites; there was a stronger biogenic signature in north London and Porto. In addition, two PAH compounds (pyrene and fluoranthene) previously associated with diesel exhaust, were correlated with OC and EC concentrations at the London and Vienna sites.
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