Biomass burning in the northern peninsular Southeast Asia: Aerosol chemical profile and potential exposure

Shantanu Kumar Pani, Somporn Chantara, Chanakarn Khamkaew, Chung Te Lee, Neng Huei Lin

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This study aimed to characterize the PM 2.5 (particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter) chemical components obtained at Doi Ang Khang (DAK; high mountain and near-source of biomass-burning (BB) emissions) and Chiang Mai University (CMU; foothill site and an urban location) in northern peninsular Southeast Asia (PSEA) during dry BB season of 2015 through the analysis of water-soluble inorganic ions, organic carbon (OC), and elemental carbon (EC) contents. The 24-h average PM 2.5 levels (μg m −3 ) at DAK (118 ± 36) and CMU (113 ± 45) were about 4 folds greater than the WHO health-based guideline (25 μg m −3 ). Major diagnostics ratios between selected ions and carbonaceous fractions showed the significant BB influence on ambient aerosols. Enriched tracers in collected aerosols, such as NO 3 , OC3 (evolved at 280–480 °C), and EC1-OP (EC evolved at 580 °C minus the pyrolized OC) confirmed that the samples were influenced by significant BB emissions. OC was the most abundant component in PM 2.5 and the contribution of BB to OC was estimated to be ~90%. For the first time, the conversion factor of OC to organic matter was estimated on the basis of mass closure approach to be 1.7 ± 0.3 and 1.6 ± 0.3 at DAK and CMU, respectively. Effective carbon ratio, which indicates an association between carbonaceous particles and climatic impact, at DAK revealed the significant atmospheric warming due to the presence of more absorbing aerosols attributed to near-source BB emissions at the high mountain site. The estimated inhalation dose of PM 2.5 and EC indicated severe health risk for local inhabitants during their outdoor activities. This study enhances the knowledge of aerosol chemical characterization and also addresses exposure to fine aerosols for local inhabitants during intense BB emissions in northern PSEA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-195
Number of pages16
JournalAtmospheric Research
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2019


  • 7-SEAS
  • Aerosol chemistry
  • Effective carbon ratio
  • Exposure dose
  • OC to OM conversion factor
  • PM


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