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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Concentrations, sources and temporal trends in atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a major conurbation.

Concentrations of atmospheric PAH were separately determined in total suspended particulate matter and associated vapour phase in ambient air in Birmingham, UK. Samples of 24 h duration were taken simultaneously at two locations (the Bristol Road Observatory Site, BROS, and the Elms Road Observatory Site, EROS) on 44 separate occasions every one to two weeks between October 1999 and January 2001. BROS was 10 m from the busy Bristol Road, 800 m from EROS that was located within the "green space" of the University of Birmingham campus. With the exception of acenaphthene, average concentrations of all measured PAH at BROS exceed those at EROS, with a paired t-test revealing these roadside increments to be significant (p < 0.05) for 9 out of the 16 target PAH, demonstrating the importance of traffic emissions of PAH. Although the declines were not statistically significant (p > 0.05) except for phenanthrene and fluoranthene, concentrations of individual PAH at EROS between July and December inclusive in 1999 and 2000 fell by between 16 and 54% compared with those during the same months in 1997. Multiple linear regression of PAH concentrations against meteorological variables confirmed the influence of the Bristol Road on BROS but not EROS. Cluster analysis of PAH contamination in individual samples showed there to be two statistically distinct groups of samples. One group contained 15 samples, all of which displayed elevated concentrations. Examination of air mass back trajectory data, revealed that these PAH pollution episodes originate due to the combined effects of meteorology and local traffic emissions, rather than as a result of long-range transport. Eighteen 12 h samples were also taken at EROS over the period of the November Bonfire Night festivals of 1999 and 2000. These revealed significantly elevated PAH concentrations on the nights when ignition of bonfires and fireworks would be anticipated to peak. These results are relevant to assessments of the impact of similar "festivals of fire" elsewhere. In particular, retene (7-isopropyl-1-methylphenanthrene) concentrations were especially elevated, indicating it has possible utility as an indicator of wood combustion emissions.[1]


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