Mass balance for lead in the California South Coast Air Basin: An update

Rebecca L. Lankey, Cliff I. Davidson, Francis C. McMichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


A mass balance for lead for the year 1989 in the South Coast Air Basin has inputs to the atmosphere of 600 ± 190 kg/day and outputs of 580 ± 160 kg/day, showing rough agreement. Stationary sources are responsible for only about 5% of the total lead emissions. The bulk of the lead is emitted from vehicles using leaded gasoline (37%) and unleaded gasoline (15%), as well as from resuspension of previously deposited lead on roads (43%). Over half of the total emitted lead deposits on roads and nearby soil, while about one- third is carried out of the basin by wind. A small amount, less than 10%, is deposited on surfaces throughout the basin. These percentages are approximately the same as those in a mass balance for the same region calculated for 1972, when lead emissions from leaded gasoline were about a factor of 70 greater than leaded gas emissions in 1989. When the lead emissions are used as inputs to a simple continuously stirred flow reactor model for the basin, reasonable agreement is obtained between calculated and measured concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-93
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Deposition
  • Emissions
  • Lead
  • Mass balance
  • Southern California

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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