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Aerosol and ozone observations during six cruise campaigns across the Mediterranean basin: temporal, spatial, and seasonal variability

November 6, 2013

The Mediterranean basin, because of its semi-enclosed configuration, is one of the areas heavily affected by air pollutants. Despite implications on both human health and radiative budget involving an increasing interest, monitoring databases measuring air pollution directly over this area are yet relatively limited. Owing to this context, concentrations of fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM2.5–10) particles along with other ancillary data, such as ozone levels and meteorological parameters, were measured during six cruise campaigns covering almost the whole Mediterranean basin. Elemental composition of both PM2.5 and PM2.5–10 was also determined to identify specific tracers for different classes of particles that can be found in the Mediterranean atmosphere. Outcomes resulting from the integration of a preliminary qualitative examination with a more quantitative analysis, based on receptor modelling, suggested that European continental influence, Saharan dust outbreaks, wildfire events, sea spray and fossil fuel combustion were the leading causes of the aerosol-ozone variations within the Mediterranean basin. Shipping emissions, consisting in both local harbours and maritime traffic across the basin, were also tested using the marker ratio of V/Ni. Peak values observed for coarse fraction have shown to be driven by the occurrence of African dust events. Considering the major influence of Continental pollution and wildfire events, the spatial variability resulted in larger fine particle concentrations and higher ozone levels over the Eastern Mediterranean side in comparison to the Western one.

Bencardino M, Pirrone N N, Sprovieri F F, in press. Aerosol and ozone observations during six cruise campaigns across the Mediterranean basin: temporal, spatial, and seasonal variability, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2013, doi:10.1007/s11356-013-2196-6. Article.

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