PM source apportionment and trace metallic aerosol affinities during atmospheric pollution episodes: a case study from Puertollano, Spain
Source apportionment study was performed, applying principal component analysis to the results of 221 chemical analyses of PM10 and PM2.5 samples collected daily from the industrial (but low traffic) Spanish town of Puertollano over a 14-month period during 2004–2005. Results reveal compositional variations attributable to different mixtures of natural and anthropogenic materials, mainly soil and rock dust (crustal), marine salt (only in PM10), petrochemical refinery emissions, and particles attributed to the combustion of local coal, which is unusually rich in Pb and Sb. During the study period there were 34 pollution episodes when PM10 exceeded 50 μg m−3, mostly due to winter air temperature inversions, regional atmospheric stagnation, or African dust incursions (North African, NAF days: usually in summer). Whereas the crustal component during NAF episodes averaged 52% with a PM2.5/PM10 ratio of 0.54, this dropped to 29% and a PM2.5/PM10 of 0.67 during non-NAF days when anthropogenic materials predominated. Abnormally enhanced concentrations of pathfinder metallic trace elements provide additional evidence for source apportionment: thus aerosols with raised levels of Pb and Sb are associated with local coal combustion, Ni and V can be linked to petrochemical PM emissions, and Ti, Mn, Rb, and Ce are particularly characteristic of crustal dust incursions.