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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 794590, 12 pages
Research Article

Carbonaceous Aerosols in Fine Particulate Matter of Santiago Metropolitan Area, Chile

1Centro de Ciencias Ambientales et Departamento de Química, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras 3425, Ñuñoa, 7800003 Santiago, Chile
2Department of Land, Air and Water Resources (LAWR), University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Received 30 August 2013; Accepted 31 October 2013; Published 22 January 2014

Academic Editors: A. Mehdinia and E. P. Meulenberg

Copyright © 2014 Richard Toro Araya et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Measurements of carbonaceous aerosols in South American cities are limited, and most existing data are of short term and limited to only a few locations. For 6 years (2002–2007), concentrations of fine particulate matter and organic and elemental carbon were measured continuously in the capital of Chile. The contribution of carbonaceous aerosols to the primary and secondary fractions was estimated at three different sampling sites and in the warm and cool seasons. The results demonstrate that there are significant differences in the levels in both the cold (March to August) and warm (September to February) seasons at all sites studied. The percent contribution of total carbonaceous aerosol fine particulate matter was greater in the cool season (53 ± 41%) than in the warm season (44 ± 18%). On average, the secondary organic carbon in the city corresponded to 29% of the total organic carbon. In cold periods, this proportion may reach an average of 38%. A comparison of the results with the air quality standards for fine particulate matter indicates that the total carbonaceous fraction alone exceeds the World Health Organization standard (10 µg/m3) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency standard (15 µg/m3) for fine particulate matter.