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Published September 1994 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Sources of Urban Contemporary Carbon Aerosol


Emissions from the major sources of fine carbonaceous aerosol in the Los Angeles basin atmosphere have been analyzed to determine the amounts of the ^(12)C and ^(14)C isotopes present. From these measurements, an inventory of the fossil carbon and contemporary carbon particle emissions to the Los Angeles atmosphere has been created. In the winter, more than half of the fine primary carbonaceous aerosol emissions are from sources containing contemporary carbon, including fireplaces, charbroilers, paved road dust, cigarette smoke, and brake lining dust, while in the summer at least one-third of the carbonaceous particle emissions are contemporary. Using a mathematical model for atmospheric transport, predictions are made of the atmospheric fine particulate fossil carbon and contemporary carbon concentrations expected due to primary source emissions. Model predictions are in reasonable agreement with the measured radiocarbon content of the fine ambient aerosol samples. It is concluded that the high fraction of contemporary carbon measured historically in Los Angeles is not due to local emission sources of biogenic material; rather, it is due to a combination of local anthropogenic pollution sources and background marine aerosol advected into the city.

Additional Information

© 1994 American Chemical Society. Received for review December 7, 1993. Revised manuscript received May 9, 1994. Accepted May 10, 1994. The authors would like to thank A. P. McNichol and R. J. Schneider of the Woods Hole National Ocean Sciences Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Facility for assistance with the AMS l4C measurements. This research was supported by the Caltech Center for Air Quality Analysis. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute endorsement or recommendation for use, nor does it imply that the materials or equipment identified are necessarily the best available for the purpose.

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August 20, 2023
August 20, 2023