A detailed characterization of air quality in the megacity of Paris (France) during two 1-month intensive campaigns and from additional 1-year observations revealed that about 70 % of the urban background fine particulate matter (PM) is transported on average into the megacity from upwind regions. This dominant influence of regional sources was confirmed by in situ measurements during short intensive and longer-term campaigns, aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements from ENVISAT, and modeling results from PMCAMx and CHIMERE chemistry transport models. While advection of sulfate is well documented for other megacities, there was surprisingly high contribution from long-range transport for both nitrate and organic aerosol. The origin of organic PM was investigated by comprehensive analysis of aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS), radiocarbon and tracer measurements during two intensive campaigns. Primary fossil fuel combustion emissions constituted less than 20 % in winter and 40 % in summer of carbonaceous fine PM, unexpectedly small for a megacity. Cooking activities and, during winter, residential wood burning are the major primary organic PM sources. This analysis suggests that the major part of secondary organic aerosol is of modern origin, i.e., from biogenic precursors and from wood burning. Black carbon concentrations are on the lower end of values encountered in megacities worldwide, but still represent an issue for air quality. These comparatively low air pollution levels are due to a combination of low emissions per inhabitant, flat terrain, and a meteorology that is in general not conducive to local pollution build-up. This revised picture of a megacity only being partially responsible for its own average and peak PM levels has important implications for air pollution regulation policies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atmospheric Science