Water-soluble organic compounds at a mountain-top site in Colorado, USA

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Water extracts of atmospheric particulate matter (PM2.5) collected at the Storm Peak Laboratory (SPL) (3210 MSL, 40.45° N, 106.74° W) were analyzed for a wide variety of polar organic compounds. The unique geographical character of SPL allows for extended observations/sampling of the free tropospheric interface. Under variable meteorological conditions between January 9th and January14th 2007, the most abundant compounds were levoglucosan (9–72 ng m−3), palmitic acid (10–40 ng m−3) and succinic acid (18–27 ng m−3). Of 84 analytes included in the GC–MS method, over 50 individual water extractable polar organic compounds (POC) were present at concentrations greater than 0.1 ng m−3. During a snow event (Jan. 11th–13th), the concentrations of several presumed atmospheric transformation compounds (dicarboxylic acids) were reduced. Lower actinic flux, reduced transport distance, and ice crystal scavenging may explain this variability. Diurnal averages over the sampling period revealed a higher total concentration of water extractable POC at night, 211 ng m−3 (105–265 ng m−3), versus day, 160 ng m−3 (137–205 ng m−3), which suggests a more aged nighttime aerosol character. This may be due to the increased daytime convective mixing of local primary emissions from the Yampa Valley. XAD resin extracts revealed a gas-phase partitioning of several compounds, and analysis of cloud water collected at this site in 2002 revealed a similar compound abundance trend. Levoglucosan, a wood smoke tracer was generally found to be the most abundant compound in both aerosol and cloud water samples. Variations in meteorological parameters and local/regional transport analysis play an important interpretive role in understanding these results.

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© 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Publisher's version of record: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.01.033

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Atmospheric Environment