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Environ Sci Technol. 2015 Apr 21;49(8):5178-88. doi: 10.1021/es505912b. Epub 2015 Mar 31.

Long-term trends in California mobile source emissions and ambient concentrations of black carbon and organic aerosol.


A fuel-based approach is used to assess long-term trends (1970-2010) in mobile source emissions of black carbon (BC) and organic aerosol (OA, including both primary emissions and secondary formation). The main focus of this analysis is the Los Angeles Basin, where a long record of measurements is available to infer trends in ambient concentrations of BC and organic carbon (OC), with OC used here as a proxy for OA. Mobile source emissions and ambient concentrations have decreased similarly, reflecting the importance of on- and off-road engines as sources of BC and OA in urban areas. In 1970, the on-road sector accounted for ∼90% of total mobile source emissions of BC and OA (primary + secondary). Over time, as on-road engine emissions have been controlled, the relative importance of off-road sources has grown. By 2010, off-road engines were estimated to account for 37 ± 20% and 45 ± 16% of total mobile source contributions to BC and OA, respectively, in the Los Angeles area. This study highlights both the success of efforts to control on-road emission sources, and the importance of considering off-road engine and other VOC source contributions when assessing long-term emission and ambient air quality trends.

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