"Global Change" related and other atmospheric aerosol research at the university of Gent, and the role of PIXE therein
The PIXE technique plays an essential role in the "Global Change" related and regional atmospheric aerosol studies that are being conducted at the University of Gent. It is the only analytical technique used for detailed examinations of elemental mass size distributions in Greenland and the Norwegian Arctic, which aim at improving our understanding of the transfer of particulate species from air to snow. PIXE also provides concentration data for key elements in multi-sample, multi-species stacked filter unit data sets that are examined by receptor modeling techniques in order to identify the contributing aerosol types, to apportion the particulate mass and the various aerosol constituents to these aerosol types, and to determine the extent of the anthropogenic perturbation. Results are presented from such work in equatorial/tropical regions, where the emphasis is placed on assessing the impact of biomass buring on the climatically important fine aerosol. PIXE is also extensively used in aerosol studies around and above the North Sea. Results are presented from a Lagrangian transport experiment that aimed at examining the changes in concentrations and characteristics of gaseous and particulate species in air masses as they move over the North Sea. Finally, preliminary results are presented from long-term aerosol collections in southern Norway.