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An evaluation of measurement methods for organic, elemental and black carbon in UK ambient air monitoring sites.

Quincey, P G; Butterfield, D; Green, D*; Coyle, M*; Cape, J N* (2009) An evaluation of measurement methods for organic, elemental and black carbon in UK ambient air monitoring sites. Atmos. Environ., 43 (32). pp. 5085-5091.

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The carbonaceous components of Particulate Matter samples form a substantial fraction of their total mass, but their quantification depends strongly on the instruments and methods used. Within UK monitoring networks, hourly organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) were determined at four sites between 2003 and 2007 using Rupprecht and Pattashnik (R & P) 5400 automatic instruments. Since 2007, daily OC/EC measurements have been made by manual thermo-optical analysis of filter samples using a Sunset Laboratory Carbon Aerosol Analysis instrument. In parallel, long term daily measurements of Black Smoke, a quantity directly related to black carbon (measured by aethalometers) and indirectly related to elemental carbon, have been made at many sites. The measurement issues associated with these techniques are evaluated in the context of UK measurements, making use of several sets of parallel data, with the aim of aiding the interpretation of network results. The main conclusions are that, from the results available, the R & P 5400 instruments greatly underread EC and total carbon (TC = OC+EC) at kerbside sites, probably due to the fact that the smaller particles are not sampled by the instrument; the R & P 5400 instrument is inherently difficult to characterise, so that all quantitative results need to be treated with caution; both aethalometer and Black Smoke (converted to black carbon) measurements can show reasonable agreement with elemental carbon results; and manual thermo-optical OC/EC results using the 'Quartz' protocol may underread EC (and hence overread OC), whether either transmittance or reflectance is used for the pyrolysis correction, and this effect is significant at rural sites.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Black Smoke, Black Carbon, Organic Carbon, Elemental Carbon, soot, air pollution, air quality
Subjects: Environmental Measurement
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2018 13:15
URI: http://eprintspublications.npl.co.uk/id/eprint/4505

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