Secondary organic aerosol contributions to PM2.5 in Monterrey, Mexico: Temporal and seasonal variation

Yasmany Mancilla, Pierre Herckes, Matthew Fraser, Alberto Mendoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Air pollution caused by fine particles is a problem of great concern in the Monterrey Metropolitan Area (MMA) which is the third largest city and the second most important industrial center in Mexico. In this study, samples of fine particulate matter emissions with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5μm (PM2.5) were collected for 12-hour periods during the spring and fall of 2011 and 2012. Eighty-three samples were analyzed for organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC). The carbonaceous fraction (OC+EC) accounted for 28-55% of the PM2.5 mass. The average OC/EC ratios ranged from 7.4 to 12.6, and OC and EC concentrations were statistically significant correlated (R2=0.81, p<0.01). The secondary organic aerosol (SOA) contributions were determined using two approaches: the EC tracer method based on a primary OC/EC ratio derived from a tunnel study and the minimum observed OC/EC ratio. SOAs were determined to constitute, on average, 59-87% and 32-45% of the total OC and PM2.5, respectively. The relationship between O3 and wind speed indicated that pollutant levels were influenced by transport events during the spring, while stagnation events predominated during the fall campaigns. Statistically significant correlations were observed between OC and EC and gaseous species (CO, NOx, and SO2), indicating a contribution by combustion of fossil fuels to the carbonaceous material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-359
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Atmospheric aerosols
  • EC tracer method
  • Monterrey
  • PM
  • Secondary organic aerosols

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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