Journal: Environment International, vol. 166, 107325, 2022
Organic aerosol (OA) is a key component of total submicron particulate matter (PM1), and comprehensive knowledge of OA sources across Europe is crucial to mitigate PM1 levels. Europe has a well-established air quality research infrastructure from which yearlong datasets using 21 aerosol chemical speciation monitors (ACSMs) and 1 aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) were gathered during 2013–2019. It includes 9 non-urban and 13 urban sites. This study developed a state-of-the-art source apportionment protocol to analyse long-term OA mass spectrum data by applying the most advanced source apportionment strategies (i.e., rolling PMF, ME-2, and bootstrap). This harmonised protocol was followed strictly for all 22 datasets, making the source apportionment results more comparable. In addition, it enables quantification of the most common OA components such as hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), biomass burning OA (BBOA), cooking-like OA (COA), more oxidised-oxygenated OA (MO-OOA), and less oxidised-oxygenated OA (LO-OOA). Other components such as coal combustion OA (CCOA), solid fuel OA (SFOA: mainly mixture of coal and peat combustion), cigarette smoke OA (CSOA), sea salt (mostly inorganic but part of the OA mass spectrum), coffee OA, and ship industry OA could also be separated at a few specific sites. Oxygenated OA (OOA) components make up most of the submicron OA mass (average = 71.1%, range from 43.7 to 100%). Solid fuel combustion-related OA components (i.e., BBOA, CCOA, and SFOA) are still considerable with in total 16.0% yearly contribution to the OA, yet mainly during winter months (21.4%). Overall, this comprehensive protocol works effectively across all sites governed by different sources and generates robust and consistent source apportionment results. Our work presents a comprehensive overview of OA sources in Europe with a unique combination of high time resolution (30–240 min) and long-term data coverage (9–36 months), providing essential information to improve/validate air quality, health impact, and climate models.