Is Traffic Still an Important Emitter of Monoaromatic Organic Compounds in European Urban Areas?

Abstract : Trends of long-term observations and emission inventories suggest that traffic emissions will no longer dominate the concentrations of monoaromatic compounds (i.e., TEX - toluene, xylenes, and ethylbenzene) in European urban areas. But the split limit between traffic and other emission sector contributions such as solvent use remains tenuous. Here long-term observations of an extensive set of hydrocarbons, including TEX, at traffic and urban background sites in London, Paris and Strasbourg were combined to estimate the relative importance of traffic emissions on TEX in every city. When analyzing the urban enhancement emission ratios of TEX-to-benzene on a seasonal basis, two potential source signatures other than traffic could be differentiated in all cities (1) summertime evaporation from fuel and/or solvent and (2) wintertime domestic heating. However, traffic emissions still unambiguously dominate the concentration levels of TEX in every city despite the reduction of their emissions at exhaust pipe over the last two decades. Traffic explains between 60% and 96% (at ±20%) of TEX levels while it is less clear for xylenes at some locations. Our results provide a basis to evaluate regional emission inventories. The method is applicable at any urban area where speciated hydrocarbon monitoring is available.
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Agnès Borbon, Anne Boynard, Thérèse Salameh, Alexia Baudic, Valerie Gros, et al.. Is Traffic Still an Important Emitter of Monoaromatic Organic Compounds in European Urban Areas?. Environmental Science & Technology, American Chemical Society, 2018, 52 (2), pp.513 - 521. ⟨10.1021/acs.est.7b01408⟩. ⟨insu-01756486⟩

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