Diesel vehicle and urban burning contributions to black carbon concentrations and size distributions in Tijuana, Mexico, during the Cal-Mex 2010 campaign Academic Article uri icon


  • Black carbon (BC) was characterized by three complementary techniques - incandescence (single particle soot photometer, SP2, at Parque Morelos), light absorption (cavity ringdown spectrometer with integrating nephelometer, CRDS-Neph, at Parque Morelos and Aethalometers at seven locations), and volatility (volatility tandem differential mobility analyzer, V-TDMA) during the Cal-Mex 2010 campaign. SP2, CRDS-Neph, and Aethalometer measurements characterized the BC mass, and SP2 and V-TDMA measurements also quantified BC-containing particle number, from which mass-mean BC diameters were calculated. Onaverage, the mass concentrations measured in Tijuana (1.82.6gm-3 at Parque Morelos and 2.6gm-3 in other regions of Tijuana) were higher than in San Diego or the international border crossing (0.50.6gm-3). The observed BC mass concentrations were attributable to nighttime urban burning activities and diesel vehicles, both from the local (Baja California) and transported (Southern California) diesel vehicle fleets. Comparisons of the SP2 and co-located Aethalometers indicated that the two methods measured similar variations in BC mass concentrations (correlation coefficients greater than 0.85), and the mass concentrations were similar for the BC particles identified from nighttime urban burning sources. When the BC source changed to diesel vehicle emissions, the SP2 mass concentrations were lower than the Aethalometer mass concentrations by about 50%, likely indicating a change in the mass absorption efficiency and quantification by the Aethalometers. At Parque Morelos there were up to three different-sized modes of BC mass in particles: one mode below 100nm, one near 100nm, and another between 200 and 300nm. The mode between 200 and 300nm was associated with urban burning activities that influenced the site during evening hours. When backtrajectories indicated that airmasses came from the south to the Parque Morelos site, BC mass in particles was also larger (mass median diameter of 170nm rather than 155nm), consistent with the higher fraction of older diesel vehicles in the Tijuana fleet compared to the vehicles found in southern California. 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Takahama, S., Russell, L. M., Shores, C. A., Marr, L. C., Zheng, J., Levy, M., ... Molina, L. T.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Takahama, S||Russell, LM||Shores, CA||Marr, LC||Zheng, J||Levy, M||Zhang, R||Castillo, E||Rodriguez-Ventura, JG||Quintana, PJE||Subramanian, R||Zavala, M||Molina, LT

publication date

  • May 2014