Explanation of aerosol sampling terms
This page explains the units used when measuring fine particle pollution.
This is an estimate of the amount of particulate ammonium sulphate [(NH4)2SO4] that is contained within a sample and it is obtained from the measurement of sulphur.
Ammonium sulphate originates from the conversion of sulphur dioxide gas (SO2), from coal burning, industry and motor vehicles, to sulphuric acid (H2SO4), which is then neutralised by ammonia present in the atmosphere. The 'Acid Rain' problem arises when there is incomplete neutralisation of this acidic aerosol.
Organic matter is an estimate of any organic compound detected, Organics are those compounds generally containing carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O).
In our case it is estimated through measurements of the hydrogen content with the removal of hydrogen associated with ammonium compounds.
The fine particle soil concentration (PM2.5) is found from the summation of the different oxides found in soil such as silicon oxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3), iron oxides (FeO, Fe2O3), calcium oxide (CaO), and titanium oxide (TiO2).
Soil in the atmosphere occurs from natural wind blown dust, agriculture and industries such as quarrying.
The visual degradation of an urban atmosphere is strongly influenced by the presence of elemental, black or sooty carbon.
The elemental carbon concentration gives an indication of the amount of soot that is present and is obtained by a laser absorption technique on filter before and after exposure. It is mainly produced by motor vehicles and biomass burning. Our estimates assume a mass attentuation coefficient of 7m2/g.
Sea salt is only a significant factor in marine environments, though its inclusion can show the seasonal variations in wind direction for coastal or near coastal localities. It is estimated from the measurement of sodium.
Potassium, iron, zinc, lead
Trace elements such as biomass or wood burning (potassium, K), industry and incineration (iron, Fe, zinc, Zn and lead, Pb) and automobiles (zinc, Zn and lead, Pb).