Spatio-temporal trends and source apportionment of fossil fuel and biomass burning black carbon (BC) in the Los Angeles Basin

In this study, the authors evaluated the spatial and temporal trends of black carbon (BC) in the Los Angeles Basin between 2012–2013 and 2016–2017. BC concentrations were measured in seven wavelengths using Aethalometers (AE33) at four sites, including central Los Angeles (CELA), Anaheim, Fontana, and Riverside. Sources of BC were quantified using the equivalent black carbon (EBC) model. Results indicate that total BC concentrations nearly doubled in colder period compared to the warm period. Source apportionment results revealed that fossil fuel combustion has higher annual contributions (ranging from 82% in Riverside to 91% in CELA) than biomass burning (ranging from 9.3% in CELA to 18.7% in Riverside) to the total BC concentrations at all sites. This trend was more clearly observed at the sites closer to major freeways, such as CELA and Anaheim. The relative contribution of fossil fuel to total BC concentrations was higher in the warm period, whereas biomass burning had higher contributions in the colder period. The diurnal variation of fossil-fuel-originated BC (BCff) to the total BC concentrations revealed major rises during the traffic rush hours, especially in the warm period. In contrast, the fraction of BC originating from biomass burning (BCbb) peaked at nighttime, particularly in the cold period, reaching values as high as 25–30% of total BC concentration. Moreover, the authors observed a clear decrease in both absolute BC concentrations as well as relative contributions of BCff to total BC concentrations from 2012–2013 to 2016–2017, which can be attributed to the implementation of strict regulations in California to reduce transportation-related PM emissions. Results from the present study suggest that as these regulations become increasingly stricter, the relative contributions of traffic sources to BC also decrease, thereby making the impact of non-fossil fuel combustion sources, such as biomass burning, to the overall BC levels more significant.


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  • Accession Number: 01679047
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 27 2018 2:05PM