Study and characterization of regional background atmospheric aerosol in the Balearic Islands, Western Mediterranean

This thesis sets out to present a number of outcomes regarding air pollution in the Western Mediterranean. In this work there is an analysis of the current status of atmospheric pollutants over the Balearic Islands and their recent trends (2000-2012). Furthermore, there is a detailed study of the chemical characterization of atmospheric aerosols and their sources (2010-2012). In addition, a parallel study of aerosol deposition to obtain atmospheric fluxes, including some pollutants and nutrients (2010-2012). Finally, there is an investigation about organic aerosol sources taking the opportunity to apply an innovative method developed in the framework of this PhD and applied to an internation field campaing developed in summer 2013.
Chapter 1 collects a global introduction to focalize the main subject of this research.
Chapters 2 to 5 correspond to several publications derived from this research. These chapters are divided into a number of sections homogeneously structured in order to favour better reading and understanding: first, an abstract of the chapter; second an introduction about the global interest of the topic, context, previous research and main objectives; third, methodology; fourth, highlighted results that have been worthy and innovative enough to be published; fifth, discussion about the outcomes and the opportunities; sixth, the main conclusions derived from our investigation. At the end, each chapter has its own bibliography, on the purpose of better findings.
Chapter 2 discusses about trends 2000-2012 of air pollution considering regional, suburban and urban environments in Mallorca. This chapter is focused on the evolution of NO, NO2, SO2, O3 and PM10 concentrations. In addition, this work interprets daily, weekly, seasonal and inter-annual patterns of diverse pollutants in different environments. The combined assessment at different environments allows us to discern changes induced by the implementation of regional policies from those caused by the enactment of continental strategies. Moreover, the effect of North Atlantic Oscillation index (NAOi) on different metrics, environments and seasons is assessed.
Chapter 3 deals with a 3-years study (2010-2012) of variability of air pollutants, PM composition and sources at a regional background site in the Balearic Islands.Furthermore, during three intensive observation periods real-time concentrations of particle number, black carbon and ammonia were measured.In addition, our study intends to evaluate the impact of increasing tourism (2010-2018) in this region as a regional source of pollution. Such a scenario is typically provoking during the warm season: 1) a much higher power supply demand; 2) a significant increment of vehicles all over the Island; 3) the increase in the amount of cruises, yachts and merchant ships; 4) a sharp increase in air traffic.
Source apportionment studies have been conducted in order to elucidate the importance of anthropogenic and natural sources or the co-variance of certain sources or the relevance of specific sources during some meteorological scenarios or seasons.
Chapter 4 discloses a 2 years campaign (Sept. 2010-Aug. 2012) studying fluxes and chemical composition of atmospheric deposition.Wet and dry deposition samples were collected separately. Time series and long-range-transport scenarios were studied. A Positive Matrix Factorization study has been carried out integrating both dry and wet deposition. Element ratios were investigated to discern differences among the origins of the mineral component. Patterns of clay and carbonate deposition have been also taken into account. And finally correlation of dry and wet deposition chemistry with PM10 chemical composition were investigated, in function of the meteorological scenario, in order to assess when and which components could present better linear regression.
Chapter 5 aims to integrate real-time HR-ToF-AMS data with off-line filter analysis, and to detect their synergies and challenges when evaluating organic sources. An extensive campaign was conducted in summer 2013. Thus including multiple devices based on off-line and real time techniques.
Chapter 6 reflects on the outcomes obtained, assesses the current situation of the western Mediterranean air basin, and discusses opportunities for the future.
Finally, Chapter 7 assembles the main conclusions derived from this thesis.
Besides, annexes contain:
- Scientific articles derived from this thesis
- List of communications, conference attendances or workshops where results have been presented
- International work involved during this thesis

Codirector : 
Víctor Cerdà Martín
PhD name: 
José Carlos Cerro Garrido
Start date: 
End date: 
Institution : 
Universitat Illes Balears