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Advanced Factor Analysis of Spatial Distributions of PM2.5 in the Eastern United States

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posted on 01.05.2003, 00:00 by Pentti Paatero, Philip K. Hopke, Janjira Hoppenstock, Shelly I. Eberly
This work analyzes PM2.5 24-h average concentrations measured every third day at over 300 locations in the eastern United States during 2000. The non-negative factor analytic model, Positive Matrix Factorization, has been enhanced by modeling the dependence of PM2.5 concentra tions on temperature, humidity, pressure, ozone concentrations, and wind velocity vectors. The model comprises 12 general factors, augmented by 5 urban-only factors intended to represent excess concentration present in urban locations only. The computed factor components or concentration fields are displayed as concentration maps, one for each factor, showing how much each factor contributes to the average concentration at each location. The factors are also displayed as flux maps that illustrate the spatial movement of PM2.5 aerosol, thus enabling one to pinpoint potential source areas of PM2.5. The quality of the results was investigated by examining how well the model reproduces especially high concentrations of PM2.5 on specific days at specific locations. Delimiting the spatial extent of all such factors that exhibit a clear regional maximum surrounded by an almost-zero outer domain lowered the uncertainty in the computed results.