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African dust and air quality over Spain: Is it only dust that matters?

08:00 EDT 24th May 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "African dust and air quality over Spain: Is it only dust that matters?"

The 2001-2016 contribution of African dust outbreaks to ambient regional background PM10 and PM2.5 levels over Spain, as well as changes induced in the PMx composition over NE Spain in 2009-2016, were investigated. A clear decrease in PMx dust contributions from the Canary Islands to N Iberia was found. A parallel increase in the PM2.5/PM10 ratio (30% in the Canary Islands to 57% in NW Iberia) was evidenced, probably due to size segregation and the larger relative contribution of the local PMx with increasing distance from Africa. PM1-10 and PM2.5-10 measured in Barcelona during African dust outbreaks (ADOs) were 43-46% higher compared to non-ADO days. The continental background contribution prevailed in terms of both PM1-10 and PM2.5-10 during ADO days (62 and 69%, respectively, and 31 and 27% for non-ADO days). The relative contributions of AlO/FeO/CaO to PMx fraction showed that AlO is a suitable tracer for African dust in our context; while CaO at the urban site is clearly affected by local resuspension, construction and road dust, and FeO by dust from vehicle brake discs. The results also provide evidence that PM increases during ADOs are caused not only by the mineral dust load, but by an increased accumulation of locally emitted or co-transported anthropogenic pollutants as compared with non-ADO days. Possible causes for this accumulation are discussed. We recommend that further epidemiological studies should explore independently the potential effects of mineral dust and the anthropogenic PM during ADOs, because, at least over SW Europe, not only mineral dust affects the air quality during African dust episodes.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: The Science of the total environment
ISSN: 1879-1026
Pages: 737-752

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