Optical and Physical Properties from Primary On-Road Vehicle Particle Emissions and Their Implications for Climate Change

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Journal Article

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During the summers of 2004 and 2006, extinction and scattering coefficients of particle emissions inside a San Francisco Bay Area roadway tunnel were measured using a combined cavity ring-down and nephelometer instrument. Particle size distributions and humidification were also measured, as well as several gas phase species. Vehicles in the tunnel traveled up a 4% grade at a speed of approximately 60 km hr-1. The traffic situation in the tunnel allows the apportionment of emission factors between light duty gasoline vehicles and diesel trucks. Cross-section emission factors for optical properties were determined for the apportioned vehicles to be consistent with gas phase and particulate matter emission factors. The absorption emission factor (the absorption cross-section per mass of fuel burned) for diesel trucks (4.4±0.79 m2 kg-1) was 22 times larger than for light-duty gasoline vehicles (0.20±0.05 m2 kg-1). The single scattering albedo of particles – which represents the fraction of incident light that is scattered as opposed to absorbed – was 0.2 for diesel trucks and 0.3 for light duty gasoline vehicles. These facts indicate that particulate matter from motor vehicles exerts a positive (i.e., warming) radiative climate forcing. Average particulate mass absorption efficiencies for diesel trucks and light duty gasoline vehicles were 3.14±0.88 m2 gPM -1 and 2.9±1.07 m2 gPM -1, respectively. Particle size distributions and optical properties were insensitive to increases in relative humidity to values in excess of 90%, reinforcing previous findings that freshly emitted motor vehicle particulate matter is hydrophobic.


Journal of Aerosol Science



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