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Journal Articles Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions Year : 2015

Near-highway aerosol and gas-phase measurements in a high-diesel environment

Henri Wortham
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Nicolas Marchand


Diesel-powered passenger cars currently outnumber gasoline-powered cars in many countries, particularly in Europe. In France, diesel cars represented 61 % of light duty vehicles in 2011 and this percentage is still increasing (French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME). As part of the September 2011 joint PM-DRIVE (Particulate Matter – DiRect and Indirect on-road Vehicular Emissions) and MOCOPO (Measuring and mOdeling traffic COngestion and POllution) field campaign, the concentration and high-resolution chemical composition of aerosols and volatile organic carbon species were measured adjacent to a major urban highway south of Grenoble, France. Alongside these atmospheric measurements, detailed traffic data were collected from nearby traffic cameras and loop detectors , which allowed the vehicle type, traffic concentration , and traffic speed to be quantified. Six aerosol age and source profiles were resolved using the positive matrix fac-torization model on real-time high-resolution aerosol mass spectra. These six aerosol source/age categories included a hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA) commonly associated with primary vehicular emissions, a nitrogen-containing aerosol with a diurnal pattern similar to that of HOA, oxidized organic aerosol (OOA), and biomass burning aerosol. While quantitatively separating the influence of diesel from that of gasoline proved impossible, a low HOA : black carbon ratio, similar to that measured in other high-diesel environments , and high levels of NO x , also indicative of diesel emissions, were observed. Although the measurement site was located next to a large source of primary emissions, which are typically found to have low oxygen incorporation , OOA was found to comprise the majority of the measured organic aerosol, and isotopic analysis showed that the measured OOA contained mainly modern carbon, not fossil-derived carbon. Thus, even in this heavily vehicular-emission-impacted environment, photochemical processes, biogenic emissions, and aerosol oxidation dominated the overall organic aerosol mass measured during most of the campaign.
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Origin : Publication funded by an institution

Dates and versions

insu-01164691 , version 1 (17-06-2015)



Hl. Dewitt, S Hellebust, B Temime-Roussel, S Ravier, L Polo, et al.. Near-highway aerosol and gas-phase measurements in a high-diesel environment. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 2015, 15, pp.4373-4387. ⟨10.5194/acp-15-4373-2015⟩. ⟨insu-01164691⟩
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