Single-particle chemical characterization and source apportionment of iron-containing atmospheric aerosols in Asian outflow



[1] Using a single-particle mass spectrometer, the size and chemical composition of individual Fe-containing atmospheric aerosols (Fe aerosols) with diameter from 100 to 1800 nm were characterized during Asian outflow season (spring of 2008) in Okinawa Island, Japan and their sources were determined. Fe aerosols were classified into five unique particle types which were mixed with specific compound(s) and related to their sources (crustal, fly ash/K-biomass burning, elemental carbon, metals, and vanadium). Particle number-based contribution of the crustal particle type, which has been thought to be the main source of aerosol Fe, was quite small (2 ∼ 10%) in all size ranges, while anthropogenic Fe aerosols were the dominant contributor in this study. Fly ash/K-biomass burning type was the most abundant particle types, which contributed ∼50%. Metals and elemental carbon types contributed ∼20% and ∼10%, respectively. Contribution of vanadium type was variable (5 ∼ 50%), which is attributed to ship emission. The frequent appearance of lithium ion peak in the fly ash/K-biomass burning type strongly suggests that large fraction of the type is coal combustion origin, reflecting high coal usage in China. These results show that anthropogenic sources contributes significant portion of Fe aerosols in Asian outflow. Excluding the vanadium type, relative contribution of the remaining four particle types was constant over the course of study, which remained even when the total concentration of Fe aerosols changed and fraction of the Fe aerosols among atmospheric aerosols decreased significantly by the switch of air mass type into marine type. We concluded that the observed constant relative abundance reflected the relative source strength of Fe aerosols in Asian outflow, particularly emphasizing the importance of coal combustion source in East Asia.