Contribution of biomass burning to atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at three european background sites

TitleContribution of biomass burning to atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at three european background sites
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsMandalakis, M, Gustafsson Ö, Alsberg T, Egebäck A-L, Reddy CM, Xu L, Klanova J, Holoubek I, Stephanou EG
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume39
Issue9
Pages2976 - 2982
Abstract

Radiocarbon analysis of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from three background areas in Sweden, Croatia, and Greece was performed to apportion their origin between fossil and biomass combustion. Diagnostic ratios of PAHs implied that wood and coal combustion was relatively more important in the northern European site, while combustion of fossil fuels was the dominant source of PAHs to the two central-southern European background sites. The radiocarbon content (Δ 14C) of atmospheric PAHs in Sweden ranged between -388‰ and -381‰, while more depleted values were observed for Greece (-914‰) and Croatia (-888‰). Using a 14C isotopic mass balance model it was calculated that biomass burning contributes nearly 10% of the total PAH burden in the studied southern European atmosphere with fossil fuel combustion making up the 90% balance. In contrast, biomass burning contributes about 50% of total PAHs in the atmosphere at the Swedish site. Our results suggest that the relative contributions of biomass burning and fossil fuels to atmospheric PAHs may differ considerably between countries, and therefore, different national control strategies might be needed if a further reduction of these pollutants is to be achieved on a continental-global scale. © 2005 American Chemical Society.

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