Black Carbon Concentrations and Diesel Vehicle Emission Factors Derived from Coefficient of Haze Measurements in California: 1967-2003

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Journal Article

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We have derived ambient black carbon (BC) concentrations and estimated emission factors for on-road diesel vehicles from archived coefficient of haze (COH) data that was routinely collected beginning in 1967 at 11 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. COH values are a measure of the attenuation of light by particles collected on a white filter, and available data indicate they are proportional to BC concentrations measured using the conventional aethalometer. Monthly averaged BC concentrations are up to five times greater in winter than summer, and, consequently, so is the population's exposure to BC. The seasonal cycle in BC concentrations is similar for all Bay Area sites, most likely due to area-wide decreased pollutant dispersion during wintertime. A strong weekly cycle is also evident, with weekend concentrations significantly lower than weekday concentrations, consistent with decreased diesel traffic volume on weekends. The weekly cycle suggests that, in the Bay Area, diesel vehicle emissions are the dominant source of BC aerosol. Despite the continuous increase in diesel fuel consumption in California, annual Bay Area average BC concentrations decreased by a factor of ∼3 from the late 1960s to the early 2000s. Based on estimated annual BC concentrations, on-road diesel fuel consumption, and recent measurements of on-road diesel vehicle BC emissions, diesel BC emission factors decreased by an order of magnitude over the study period. Reductions in the BC emission factor reflect improved engine technology, emission controls and changes in diesel fuel composition. A new BC monitoring network is needed to continue tracking ambient BC trends because the network of COH monitors has been retired.


Atmospheric Environment



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