Organic characterisation of PM10 in Cape Verde under Saharan dust influxes

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The current study presents, for the first time, a long-term organic speciation of aerosol at the Cape Verde archipelago. The Cape Verde location, in the Atlantic Ocean, provides a unique laboratory to study background aerosol, long-range transport, aerosol mixing with mineral dust, biomass burning and sea surface components. In order to contribute to a better understanding of this environment, a one-year long measurement campaign was performed in Praia City, Santiago Island. PM10 concentrations (20.5–370 μg/m3) and the organic composition of PM10 were influenced by the African dust influxes. The carbonaceous content of PM10 was very low, suggesting that most of the mass has mineral origin. The PM10 composition was essentially characterised by a large variety of organic compounds, which can be grouped into general compound classes, such as n-alkanes, n-alkanols, n-acids and sugars. The n-alkane total concentrations varied from 3.77 to 53.2 ng/m3. The n-alkanols distribution showed a significant biogenic contribution whether from microbial origin or from epicuticular plants during African dust outbreaks. The total concentrations of n-alkanoic acids varied from 0.011 to 4.51 ng/m3. The lower n-alkenoic acids content, obtained during the periods of long-range transport from Africa, indicated a more aged aerosol. The monosaccharide anhydrides were detected in all samples with a range of concentrations from 2.06 to 12.7 ng/m3.