Chemistry of dry and wet atmospheric deposition over the Balearic Islands, NW Mediterranean: Source apportionment and African dust areas
Wet and dry aerosol deposition samples were collected from September 2010 to August 2012 at a remote background site in the Mallorca Isle (Western Mediterranean). Ions and major and trace elements were determined in soluble and insoluble fractions. Temporal variations of chemical components are discussed and interpreted. The overall pattern associated to long-range-transport air masses is studied: Dry/Wet deposition ratios, charges and composition depend clearly on the meteorological scenario. E.g. Dry/Wet ratio is 1:1 when air comes from North Africa, in contrast to a 1:9 ratio under the mainland Europe influence.
Moreover, an innovating source apportionment study was conducted integrating both dry and wet deposition samples. Six sources were revealed, including marine aerosols (32%); two different mineral factors, African dust (15%) and regional dust (12%); two anthropogenic factors, one related to road traffic (8%) and another to regional sources (17%); and a mixed factor having biomass burning emissions and others sources (17%). Temporal variations and influence from long-range-transport air masses are also investigated.
Fertilization deposition trends have also been explored, observing nutrients settling, as well as nitrate and sulphate, due to their agricultural interest. An important peak during January–February 2012 is studied in depth.
Having in mind the strong impact of African dust on the global deposition budget, the analysis of elemental ratios between key dust components was investigated in order to identify major source areas affecting Western Mediterranean: Western Sahara, Algeria-Hoggar Massif and Tunisia-Libya. Differences among these regions are evident. E.g. the impact of industrial emissions is well-detected under outbreaks from Tunisia-Libya, with relatively high content of Ni and Pb.