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Aerosol monitoring program at Santa Cruz Atmospheric Observatory






Two main objectives:

1) to develop techniques for improving the identification of the urban particles sources and the air quality assessment, in relation to European air quality standards.
2) perform a continuous monitoring on the impact of Saharan dust transport on the urban air quality.



The instrumentation used for performing the in-situ aerosol measurements is placed on the roof of a 6 floor building. Because of the location of the measurements site, data are considered to be representative of the particles in the urban background. The site is placed between the city center and the harbor. At this site, the physicochemical characteristics and the impact on air quality of the particles emitted by vehicle exhausts and by ships is monitored. Moreover, the events of Saharan dust transport is also monitored.
View of the city center from the NW side of Santa Cruz Atmospheric Observatory.

View of the harbor from the Eastern side of Santa Cruz Atmospheric Observatory.

View from Santa Cruz Atmospheric Observatory during a Saharan dust episode (21 january 2008, left) and during a clean day (31 january 2008, right).


Currently, four inlets are used, two for collecting PM10 and PM2.5 samples, one for monitoring black carbon particles and other one for monitoring the (ultrafine) particle number concentrations:

Inlets for black carbon, PM10 and PM2.5 measurements.


Two of our particle samplers are installed within independent racks:

Sampler for collecting PM10 and PM2.5 particles.

A rack is used for placing the automatic aerosol instrumentation.


Instrument picture
Number concentrations of particles coarser 2.5 nm is measured with a TSI™ Ultrafine Condensation Particle Counter model 3776.

An Optical Particle Counter GRIMM™ model 1107 is used for performing a continuous monitoring of PM10, PM2.5 and PM1 concentrations.

Concentrations of black carbon and the absorption coefficient at 1 wavelength (630 nm light), due to particles smaller than 10 microns, is measured with a Thermo™ MultiAngle Absorption Photometer (MAAP). A PM10 impactor is placed in the inlet.
Mass concentrations and chemical composition of PM10 and PM2.5 particles is determined by sampling on quartz micro fiber filter.

Mass concentration is determined by gravimetry in our laboratory.

Chemical composition allows determining the concentrations of mineral dust, sea salt, sulphate, nitrate, ammonium, organic carbon, elemental carbon, trace elements.



To develop techniques for improving the identification of urban particles sources and improving the air quality assessment is currently a main research line. Special attention is paid to emissions of particles in the exhaust of automobiles. Studies performed at Santa Cruz Observatory shows that the metrics currently used for assessing the air quality in urban air according to the European Standards (PM10 and PM2.5), are not significantly sensitive to particles emitted by the exhaust of automobiles. This is due to the fact that vehicle exhausts mostly emit ultrafine and black soot particles, and their contribution to PM10 and PM2.5 is very low. Thus, a specific monitoring of these particles should be performed in urban air for protecting human health. Observe in the following Figure how ultrafine (PUF) and black soot particles exhibit a higher correlation with road traffic intensity than PM10 and PM2.5.

Concentrations of black carbon soot (BC), ultrafine (PUF), PM10 and PM2.5 particles in Santa Cruz Observatory, and road traffic intensity


The transport of dust from Sahara desert results in high concentrations of PM10 and PM2.5 particles. In general, high PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations at Santa Cruz de Tenerife are caused by this natural phenomenon.



Publications based on observations at Santa Cruz observatory and complementary sites

González, Y., S. Rodríguez. A comparative study on the ultrafine particle episodes induced by vehicle exhaust, a crude oil refinery and ship emissions. Atmospheric Research, 120-121, 43-54, 2013. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosres.2012.08.001

Dominguez-Rodriguez, A., J. Abreu-Afonso, S. Rodríguez, R. A Juarez-Prera, E. Arroyo-Ucara, Y. Gonzalez, P. Abreu-Gonzalez, P. Avanzas. Air pollution and heart failure: Relationship with the ejection fraction. World Journal of Cardiology  5(3), 49-53, 2013. DOI:  doi:10.4330/wjc.v5.i3.49

Domínguez-Rodríguez, A., Abreu-Afonso, J., Gonzalez, Y., S. Rodríguez, Juarez-Prera, R.A., Arroyo-Ucar, E., Jimenez-Sosa, A., Abreu-Gonzalez, P., Avanzas, P. Relationship between short-term exposure to atmospheric sulfur dioxide and obstructive lesions in acute coronary syndrome. Medicina Clínica 140(12), 537-541, 2013. DOI:  doi: 10.1016/j.medcli.2012.05.040

Querol, X., A. Alastuey, M. Viana, T. Moreno, C. Reche, M.C. Minguillón, A. Ripoll, M. Pandolfi, F. Amato, A. Karanasiou, N. Pérez, J. Pey, M. Cusack, R. Vázquez, F. Plana, M. Dall’Osto, J. de la Rosa, A. Sánchez de la Campa, R. Fernández-Camacho, S. Rodríguez, C. Pío, L. Alados-Arboledas, G. Titos, B. Artíñano, P. Salvador, S. García Dos Santos, R. Fernández Patier. Variability of carbonaceous aerosols in remote, rural, urban and industrial environments in Spain: Implications for air quality policy. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics  13, 6185-6206, 2013. DOI:  doi:10.5194/acp-13-6185-2013

Domínguez-Rodríguez,A., S. Rodríguez, P. Abreu, R. Juárez, P. Avanzas. Impact of AIR pollution on inflammation, oxidative stress and 1-year prognosis in patients hospitalized for Acute COronary Syndrome: design of the AIRACOS study. Medicina Clínica, in press.

Reche, C., Querol, X., Alastuey, A., Viana, M., Pey, J., Moreno, T., Rodríguez, S., González, Y., Fernández-Camacho, R., Sánchez de la Campa, A. M., de la Rosa, J., Dall'Osto, M., Prévôt, A. S. H., Hueglin, C., Harrison, R. M., and Quincey, P.: New considerations for PM, Black Carbon and particle number concentration for air quality monitoring across different European cities. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 11, 6207–6227, 2011. DOI:10.5194/acp-11-6207-2011.

González, Y., S. Rodríguez, J.C. Guerra, J.L. Trujillo, R. García. Ultrafine particles pollution in urban coastal air due to ship emissions. Atmospheric Environment, 45 (2011), 4907- 4914, doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.06.002.

Domínguez-Rodríguez, A., Abreu-Afonso, J., Rodríguez, S., Juárez-Prera, R.A., Arroyo-Ucar, E., Jiménez-Sosa, A., González, Y., Abreu-González, P., Avanzas, P. Comparative Study of Ambient Air Particles in Patients Hospitalized for Heart Failure and Acute Coronary Syndrome. Revista Española de Cardiologia, 2011, 64(8), 661–666, doi:10.1016/j.rec.2010.12.023, 2011.

Hernández, F., S. Rodríguez, L. Karlsson, S. Alonso-Pérez, M. López-Pérez, J., Hernández- Armas, E. Cuevas. Origin of observed high 7Be and mineral dust concentrations in ambient air on the island of Tenerife, Atmospheric Environment, 42, 4247-4256, 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.01.017.

Hernández, F., L. Karlsson, M. López-Pérez, J. Hernández-Armas, S. Alonso-Pérez, S. Rodríguez, E. Cuevas. Using 137Cs and 40K to identify natural Saharan dust contributions to PM10 concentrations and air quality impairment in the Canary Islands. Atmospheric Environment, 42, 7034-7042, 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.06.016.

Rodríguez, S. E. Cuevas, Y. González, R. Ramos, P.M. Romero, N. Pérez, X. Querol, A. Alastuey. Influence of sea breeze circulation and road traffic emissions on the relationship between particle number, black carbon, PM1, PM2.5 and PM2.5-10 concentrations in a coastal city. Atmospheric Environment, 42, 6523-6534, 2008. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.04.022.

Alonso-Pérez, S., Cuevas, E., Querol, X., Viana, M., Guerra, J.C. (2007). Impact of the Saharan dust outbreaks on the ambient levels of total suspended particle (TSP) in the Marine Boundary Layer (MBL) of the Subtropical Eastern North Atlantic Ocean. Atmospheric Environment, 41/40, 9468-9480. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2007.08.049

Rodríguez, S., Cuevas, E., The contributions of ‘minimum primary emissions’ and ‘new particle formation enhancements’ to the particle number concentration in urban air. Journal of Aerosol Science, 38, 1207 – 1219, 2007. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaerosci.2007.09.001.

Alastuey, A., Querol, X., Castillo, S., Escudero, M., Avila, A., Cuevas, E., Torres, C., P.M. Romero, Exposito, F., García, O., Díaz, J.P., Van Dingenen, R., Putaud, J.P.: Characterisation of TSP and PM2.5 at Izaña and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain) during a Saharan Dust Episode (July 2002). Atmospheric Environment 39, 4715–4728, 2005.

Guerra, J.C., Rodríguez, S., Arencibia, M.T., García, D., Study on the formation and transport of ozone in relation to the air quality management and vegetation protection in Tenerife (Canaries). Chemosphere, 56, 1157-1167, 2004. DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2004.03.017

Querol, X. , A. Alastuey, S. Rodríguez, M.M. Viana, B. Artíñano, P. Salvador, E. Mantilla, S. García Do Santos, R. Fernández Patier, J. De La Rosa, A. Sánchez De La Campa, M. Menéndez, Levels of particulate matter at rural, urban and industrial sites in Spain. Science of the Total Environment, 334– 335, 359–376, 2004. DOI:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.04.036

Querol, X., A. Alastuey, M.M. Viana, S. Rodríguez, B. Artiñano, P. Salvador, S. Garcia-Do-Santos, R. Fernández-Patier, C.R. Ruiz, J. De-La-Rosa, A. Sánchez-De-La-Campa, M. Menéndez, J.I. Gil. Speciation and origin of PM10 and PM2.5 in Spain. Journal of Aerosol Science, 35, 1151–1172, 2004. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaerosci.2004.04.002

Rodríguez, S. C. Torres, J.C. Guerra, E. Cuevas, Transport pathways of ozone to marine and free-troposphere sites in Tenerife, Canary Islands. Atmospheric Environment, 38, 4733-4747, 2004. DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2004.05.021

Viana, M.M., Querol, X., Alastuey, A., Cuevas, E., Rodríguez, S., Influence of African dust on the levels of atmospheric particulates in the Canary Islands air quality network. Atmospheric Environment, 36, 5861-5875, 2002.

Rodríguez, S. Guerra, J.C., Monitoring of ozone in a marine environment in Tenerife (Canary Islands). Atmospheric Environment, 35, 1829-1841, 2001.

Domínguez-Rodríguez, A., S. Rodríguez, P. Abreu, R. Juárez, P. Avanzas. Impact of AIR pollution on inflammation, oxidative stress and 1-year prognosis in patients hospitalized for Acute COronary Syndrome: design of the AIRACOS study. Medicina Clínica, in press.