Local and regional components of aerosol in a heavily trafficked street canyon in central London derived from PMF and cluster analysis of single-particle ATOFMS spectra.
Positive matrix factorization (PMF) has been applied to single particle ATOFMS spectra collected on a six lane heavily trafficked road in central London (Marylebone Road), which well represents an urban street canyon. PMF analysis successfully extracted 11 factors from mass spectra of about 700,000 particles as a complement to information on particle types (from K-means cluster analysis). The factors were associated with specific sources and represent the contribution of different traffic related components (i.e., lubricating oils, fresh elemental carbon, organonitrogen and aromatic compounds), secondary aerosol locally produced (i.e., nitrate, oxidized organic aerosol and oxidized organonitrogen compounds), urban background together with regional transport (aged elemental carbon and ammonium) and fresh sea spray. An important result from this study is the evidence that rapid chemical processes occur in the street canyon with production of secondary particles from road traffic emissions. These locally generated particles, together with aging processes, dramatically affected aerosol composition producing internally mixed particles. These processes may become important with stagnant air conditions and in countries where gasoline vehicles are predominant and need to be considered when quantifying the impact of traffic emissions.