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Source apportionment of submicron organic aerosols at an urban site by factor analytical modelling of aerosol mass spectra

by V. A. Lanz, M. R. Alfarra, U. Baltensperger, B. Buchmann, C. Hueglin, A. S. H. Prévôt
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ()

Abstract

Submicron ambient aerosol was characterized in summer 2005 at an urban background site in Zurich, Switzerland, during a three-week measurement campaign. Highly time-resolved samples of non-refractory aerosol components were analyzed with an Aerodyne aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS). Positive matrix factorization (PMF) was used for the first time for aerosol mass spectra to identify the main components of the total organic aerosol and their sources. The PMF retrieved factors were compared to measured reference mass spectra and were correlated with tracer species of the aerosol and gas phase measurements from collocated instruments. Six factors were found to explain virtually all variance in the data and could be assigned either to sources or to aerosol components such as oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA). Our analysis suggests that at the measurement site only a small (

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