Dynamics-aerosol-chemistry-cloud interactions in West Africa
Research Publications
18 December 2018
Anthropogenic VOC in Abidjan, southern West Africa: from source quantification to atmospheric impacts
Publication: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) (discussion paper)
DOI Number: 10.5194/acp-2018-1263
Author: Dominutti, P., Keita, S., Bahino, J., Colomb, A., Liousse, C., Yoboué, V., Galy-Lacaux, C., Bouvier, L., Sauvage, S., and Borbon, A.
Several field campaigns were deployed in the framework of the project Dynamics-Aerosol-Chemistry-Cloud Interactions in West Africa (DACCIWA) to measure a broad range of atmospheric constituents. Here, we present the analysis of an unprecedented and comprehensive dataset integrating up to fifty-six VOC from ambient sites and emission sources. VOCs were collected on sorbent tubes in the coastal city of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, in winter and summer 2016 and analysed by gas chromatography coupled with flame ionization and mass spectrometer detectors (GC-FID and GC-MS) at the laboratory.

The comparison between VOC emission source profiles and ambient profiles suggests the substantial impact of two-wheelers and domestic fires on the composition of Abidjan's atmosphere. However, despite the high VOC concentrations near-source, moderate ambient levels were observed (by a factor of 10 to 4000 lower) and similar to the ones observed in northern mid-latitude urban areas. Beyond photochemistry, reported high wind speeds suggest that meteorology is an essential factor that regulates air pollution in Abidjan.

Emission ratios (ΔVOC/ΔCO) were established based on real-world measurements achieved on a selected number of representative combustion sources. Maximal molar mass contributions were observed from two-wheeler (TW) emissions, overpassing other regional sources by two orders of magnitude. This source also largely governs the VOC atmospheric impacts in terms of OH reactivity, secondary aerosol formation (SOAP) and ozone production (POCP). While the contribution of aromatics dominates the atmospheric impact, our measurements reveal the systematic presence of anthropogenic terpenoids in all residential combustion sectors. Finally, emission factors were used to retrieve and quantify VOC emissions from the main anthropogenic source sectors at national level. Our detailed VOC emissions estimation suggests that the road transport sector is the dominant source in Cote d'Ivoire by emitting around 1200Ggyr−1 of gas-phase VOCs. These new estimations are 100 and 160 times larger than previous global inventory estimations like MACCity or Edgar (v4.3.2). Additionally, the residential sector is also largely underestimated by a factor of 13 to 43. For the only Cote d'Ivoire, these new estimates for VOCs are three to six times higher than the whole Europe. Given the significant underestimation of VOC emissions from transport and residential sectors for Côte d'Ivoire country there is an urgent need for such an effort in the whole West Africa region for building more realistic and region-specific emission inventories. This is not only true for VOCs but all atmospheric pollutants. The dearth of waste burning, fuelwood burning and charcoal representation in regional inventories need also to be addressed, particularly in low-income areas where these types of activities are essential sources of VOC emissions.