Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Evaluation of δ13C in Carbonaceous Aerosol Source Apportionment at a Rural Measurement Site

  • Johan Martinsson
  • August Andersson
  • Moa Sporre
  • Johan Friberg
  • Adam Kristensson
  • Erik Swietlicki
  • Pål Axel Olsson
  • Kristina Stenström
Publishing year: 2017
Language: English
Pages: 2081-2094
Publication/Series: Aerosol and Air Quality Research
Volume: 17
Issue: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Taiwan Association for Aerosol Research

Abstract english

The stable isotope of carbon, 13C, has been used in several studies for source characterization of carbonaceous aerosol since there are specific signatures for different sources. In rural areas, the influence of different sources is complex and the application of δ13C for source characterization of the total carbonaceous aerosol (TC) can therefore be difficult, especially the separation between biomass burning and biogenic sources. We measured δ13C from 25 filter samples collected during one year at a rural background site in southern Sweden. Throughout the year, the measured δ13C showed low variability (–26.73 to –25.64‰). We found that the measured δ13C did not correlate with other commonly used source apportionment tracers (14C, levoglucosan). δ13C values showed lower variability during the cold months compared to the summer, and this narrowing of the δ13C values together with elevated levoglucosan concentrations may indicate contribution from sources with lower δ13C variation, such as biomass or fossil fuel combustion. Comparison of two Monte Carlo based source apportionment models showed no significant difference in results when δ13C was incorporated in the model. The insignificant change of redistributed fraction of carbon between the sources was mainly a consequence of relatively narrow range of δ13C values and was complicated by an unaccounted kinetic isotopic effect and overlapping δ13C end-member values for biomass burning and biogenic sources.


  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


  • ISSN: 2071-1409
Pål Axel Olsson
E-mail: pal_axel [dot] olsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 42 47



Research group

Plant Biology



Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Theodor Kindeberg

PhD students, assistant supervisor