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Open Access Aerosol Inorganic Composition at a Tropical Site: Discrepancies Between Filter-Based Sampling and a Semi-Continuous Method

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The concentrations of the water-soluble inorganic aerosol species, ammonium (NH4+), nitrate (NO3-), chloride (Cl-), and sulfate (SO42-), were measured from September to November 2002 at a pasture site in the Amazon Basin (Rondônia, Brazil) (LBA-SMOCC). Measurements were conducted using a semi-continuous technique (Wet-annular denuder/Steam-Jet Aerosol Collector: WAD/SJAC) and three integrating filter-based methods, namely (1) a denuder-filter pack (DFP: Teflon and impregnated Whatman filters), (2) a stacked-filter unit (SFU: polycarbonate filters), and (3) a High Volume dichotomous sampler (HiVol: quartz fiber filters). Measurements covered the late dry season (biomass burning), a transition period, and the onset of the wet season (clean conditions). Analyses of the particles collected on filters were performed using ion chromatography (IC) and Particle-Induced X-ray Emission spectrometry (PIXE). Season-dependent discrepancies were observed between the WAD/SJAC system and the filter-based samplers. During the dry season, when PM2.5 (Dp ≤ 2.5 m) concentrations were ∼100 g m-3, aerosol NH4+ and SO42- measured by the filter-based samplers were on average two times higher than those determined by the WAD/SJAC. Concentrations of aerosol NO3- and Cl- measured with the HiVol during daytime, and with the DFP during day- and nighttime also exceeded those of the WAD/SJAC by a factor of two. In contrast, aerosol NO3- and Cl- measured with the SFU during the dry season were nearly two times lower than those measured by the WAD/SJAC. These differences declined markedly during the transition period and towards the cleaner conditions during the onset of the wet season (PM2.5∼ 5 g m-3); when filter-based samplers measured on average 40-90% less than the WAD/SJAC. The differences were not due to consistent systematic biases of the analytical techniques, but were apparently a result of prevailing environmental conditions and different sampling procedures. For the transition period and wet season, the significance of our results is reduced by a low number of data points. We argue that the observed differences are mainly attributable to (a) positive and negative filter sampling artifacts, (b) presence of organic compounds and organosulfates on filter substrates, and (c) a SJAC sampling efficiency of less than 100%.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Biogeochemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, Germany 2: University of Puerto Rico, Institute for Tropical Ecosystem Studies (ITES), Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, USA 3: Department of Environmental Sciences, Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel 4: Department of Anal. Chem., Institute for Nuclear Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium 5: Instituto de Física, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão, São Paulo, Brazil 6: Department of Air Quality, Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, Petten, Netherlands 7: College of Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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