Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Rodriguez J., Garcia M., Perez I., Jorquera H. (2023)

Saharan dust contributions to high hourly PM10 concentrations at a background station in Southwestern Europe

Volumen : 37
Número : 10
Páginas : 3779-3795
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


This paper presents a long-term analysis of ambient PM10 concentrations measured at a background station in Spain, using backward trajectories generated with the HYSPLIT model, together with the identification of synoptic patterns and a fuzzy clustering analysis, to identify the sources present and evaluate their relationship with meteorological variables such as wind speed and direction, temperature, and atmospheric pressure. Ambient PM10 presented maximum values during the summer with mean concentrations of approximately 14 mu g m(-3) for August, and minimum values during the winter with concentrations of 6 mu g m(-3) for January. The daily cycle presented two peaks-one in the morning and another in the afternoon-with this variability being associated with transport emissions. African air masses reached the study site extending vertically at least up to 2500 m.a.g.l, with a frequency of 43.5%, and are associated to a mean ground PM10 concentration of 41.3 mu g m(-3). During the episodes of Saharan intrusions, high pressures with unclassified synoptic patterns (U) prevailed over the Iberian Peninsula. Local, European, maritime and intermittent contributions were the four main sources of pollutants identified through fuzzy clustering analysis. These intermittent contributions are associated with Saharan dust intrusions, with a long-term average PM10 concentration of 1.7 mu g m(-3), which represents an important contribution of 11.2%. These sources affect seasonal variations of PM10 background concentrations, and reach their maximum when the greatest contributions of desert dust occur-mainly during the spring-summer months. These results provide useful information for future comparisons and environmental monitoring of PM10 levels.