Geophysical Research Letters

On leaf magnetic homogeneity in particulate matter biomonitoring studies



[1] Biomonitoring of magnetic properties of tree leaves has been postulated to be a good approach to measure particulate matter (PM) pollution levels. We studied the variation of magnetic hysteresis parameters on leaves of Quercus ilex, an evergreen oak previously used for magnetic biomonitoring of air pollution in Rome (Italy). The hysteresis parameters (MRS, MS, BCR and BC) measured on specimens collected at a close spacing on the surface of two single leaves show variances that are smaller than those observed on a collection of Q. ilex leaves sampled from several trees distributed along high-traffic roads. The variability is higher for magnetizations than for coercivities. This suggests a uniform source for the magnetic particles, such that variations are due mainly to changes in concentration. The normalized hysteresis cycles are remarkably similar for all the specimens. Normalization of magnetic moments by mass appears however more efficient than normalization by volume.