Source contributions to fine particulate matter in an urban atmosphere

Chemosphere. 2005 Apr;59(2):217-26. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.11.001. Epub 2004 Dec 18.


This paper proposes a practical method for estimating source attribution by using a three-step methodology. The main objective of this study is to explore the use of the three-step methodology for quantifying the source impacts of 24-h PM2.5 particles at an urban site in Seoul, Korea. 12-h PM2.5 samples were collected and analyzed for their elemental composition by ICP-AES/ICP-MS/AAS to generate the source composition profiles. In order to assess the daily average PM2.5 source impacts, 24-h PM2.5 and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) ambient samples were simultaneously collected at the same site. The PM2.5 particle samples were then analyzed for trace elements. Ionic and carbonaceous species concentrations were measured by ICP-AES/ICP-MS/AAS, IC, and a selective thermal MnO2 oxidation method. The 12-h PM2.5 chemical data was used to estimate possible source signatures using the principal component analysis (PCA) and the absolute principal component scores method followed by the multiple linear regression analysis. The 24-h PM2.5 source categories were extracted with a combination of PM2.5 and some PAH chemical data using the PCA, and their quantitative source contributions were estimated by chemical mass balance (CMB) receptor model using the estimated source profiles and those in the literature. The results of PM2.5 source apportionment using the 12-h derived source composition profiles show that the CMB performance indices; chi2, R2, and percent of mass accounted for are 2.3%, 0.97%, and 100.7%, which are within the target range specified. According to the average PM2.5 source contribution estimate results, motor vehicle exhaust was the major contributor at the sampling site, contributing 26% on average of measured PM2.5 mass (41.8 microg m-3), followed by secondary sulfate (23%) and nitrate (16%), refuse incineration (15%), soil dust (13%), field burning (4%), oil combustion (2.7%), and marine aerosol (1.3%). It can be concluded that quantitative source attribution to PM2.5 in an urban area where source profiles have not been developed can be estimated using the proposed three-step methodology approach.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / analysis*
  • Cities*
  • Dust / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring / statistics & numerical data*
  • Incineration
  • Korea
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Models, Chemical*
  • Particle Size
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Spectrophotometry, Atomic
  • Time Factors
  • Vehicle Emissions / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Dust
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Vehicle Emissions