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Monoaromatic compounds in ambient air of various cities: A focus on correlations between the xylenes and ethylbenzene

  • Author(s): Monod, A
  • Sive, BC
  • Avino, P
  • Chen, T
  • Blake, DR
  • Sherwood Rowland, F
  • et al.
Abstract

Speciation of o-xylene, m-xylene, p-xylene and ethylbenzene was performed by gas chromatography from ambient air and liquid fuel samples collected at various locations in 19 cities in Europe, Asia and South America. The xylene's mixing ratios were compared to each other from the various locations, which included urban air, traffic air and liquid fuel. For all samples, the xylenes exhibited robust correlations, and the slopes remained constant. The m-xylene/p-xylene ratio was found to be 2.33±0.30, and the m-xylene/o-xylene ratio was found to be 1.84±0.25. These ratios remain persistent even in biomass combustion experiments (in South America and South Africa). Comparing the xylenes to toluene and benzene indicate that combustion, but not fuel evaporation, is the major common source of the xylenes in areas dominated by automotive emissions. Although a wide range of combustion types and combustion efficiencies were encountered throughout all the locations investigated, xylenes and ethylbenzene ratios remained persistent. We discuss the implications of the constancies in the xylenes and ethylbenzene ratios on atmospheric chemistry.

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