Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Temporal variations of elemental carbon in Tokyo



[1] Mass concentrations of elemental carbon (EC) in fine mode and mixing ratios of carbon monoxide (CO) were measured at the University of Tokyo campus in Tokyo in different seasons in 2003–2005. Measurements of EC were made using a semicontinuous thermal-optical analyzer. The mass concentrations of nonvolatile aerosol measured by the calibrated scanning mobility particle sizer combined with a heated inlet agreed with the independent EC measurements with a systematic difference of about 4%, demonstrating that the mass concentrations of nonvolatile aerosol well represent those for EC. A majority of the nonvolatile aerosol and therefore EC mass concentration was in volume equivalent diameters between 50 and 200 nm, peaking at around 130 nm. The correlation of EC and CO was generally compact throughout the measurement period because of the similarity in sources. The slope of the EC-CO correlation (ΔEC/ΔCO) is therefore a useful parameter in validating EC emission inventories. The EC concentration and ΔEC/ΔCO showed distinct diurnal variation. On weekdays, EC and ΔEC/ΔCO reached maximum values of about 3 μg m−3 and 9 ng m−3/parts per billion by volume, respectively, in the early morning (0400–0800 local time), when the traffic density of heavy-duty trucks with diesel engines was highest. In addition, these values were lower by a factor of 2 on Sundays. The heavy truck traffic showed similar diurnal and weekday/weekend variations, indicating that exhaust from diesel engines is an important source of EC. Monthly mean ΔEC/ΔCO showed a seasonal variation, reaching broad maximum values in spring-autumn and reaching minimum values in midwinter, following the seasonal variation in temperature, as observed in Maryland, United States (Chen et al., 2001). This temperature dependence is likely due to the temperature dependence of EC emissions from diesel engines on intake air temperature. More stringent regulation of emissions of particles from diesel cars started in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area in October 2003. The ΔEC/ΔCO values did not change, however, exceeding the natural variability (10%) after 1 year from the start of the new regulations, when the temperature dependence is taken into account. This indicates that the regulation of particle emissions in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area was not effective in reducing the EC concentrations after 1 year.