Sources of carbonaceous aerosols in the ambient atmosphere

Ambient particulate matter (PM) in the atmosphere induce severe effects on public health in many regions of the world. Carbonaceous aerosols (OA) comprise a large fraction of PM. They may be emitted directly as primary OA or formed in the atmosphere from volatile organic precursors as secondary OA. Efficient reduction of both types for air quality improvement requires a quantitative knowledge of individual emission sources. Analysis of the long-lived radionuclide 14C (radiocarbon) provides an unambiguous distinction of emissions based on fossil-fuel usage (e.g. such as traffic or coal burning) from other sources (like biogenic emissions or wood burning). This presentation will highlight the potential of 14C for source apportionment of PM as stand-alone approach and in combination with complementary techniques such as positive matrix factorization applied to aerosol mass spectrometry measurements (AMS-PMF).