Carbonaceous aerosols in the air masses transported from Indochina to Taiwan: Long-term observation at Mt. Lulin

Ming Tung Chuang, Chung Te Lee, Charles C.K. Chou, Neng Huei Lin, Guey Rong Sheu, Jia Lin Wang, Shuenn Chin Chang, Sheng Hsiang Wang, Kai Hsien Chi, Chea Yuan Young, Hill Huang, Horng Wen Chen, Guo Hau Weng, Sin Yu Lai, Shao Peng Hsu, Yu Jia Chang, Jia Hon Chang, Xyue Chang Wu

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Eight carbonaceous fractions from aerosols were resolved using the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) protocol (Chow etal., 1993). The aerosols were collected at the Mountain Lulin Atmospheric Background Station (Mt. Lulin, 2862ma.s.l.) in Central Taiwan from April 2003 to April 2012. The monthly and yearly levels of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) varied consistently with PM2.5 mass concentrations during biomass burning (BB) period. The highest monthly carbonaceous content was observed in March and the highest yearly carbonaceous concentration was observed in 2007. This finding is consistent with the BB activity in Indochina and indicates that carbonaceous content is a major component of BB aerosols. Lee etal. (2011) classified four trajectory groups from the air masses transported to Mt. Lulin during the aerosol collection period. For the air masses transported from the BB area (the BB group) in Indochina, the carbonaceous content was greater than the water-soluble ions in PM2.5, and the OC/EC ratio (4.8±1.5) was high. With EC as the indicator of primary emission sources, the air masses of the BB group were found to contain more primary than secondary OC. The Anthropogenic group (from the local and free troposphere below the 700-hPa pressure level over the Asian continent) probably contained more secondary than primary OC or the sources of OC and EC could be quite diverse. The average char-EC/soot-EC (low-temperature EC/high-temperature EC) ratios were 3.9±3.5, 0.4±0.4, 0.9±0.8, and 0.3±0.4 for the trajectory groups BB, SNBB (from BB source areas during the non-BB period), Anthropogenic, and FT (from the oceanic area and the free troposphere above the 700-hPa pressure level over the Asian continent), respectively. The presence of a high char-EC/soot-EC ratio confirmed the correct classification of the BB group, whereas the low ratios from the other groups indicated the strong influence of vehicle exhaust. It is noted that higher OC and EC levels were obtained at Mt. Lulin as compared with those obtained at other high-elevation sites. This difference suggested that the Indochina BB plume exhibited a more serious climatic impact on the background air in East Asia than in other places in Asia and Europe. On the basis of the carbonaceous levels of the SNBB and FT groups, the background OC and EC levels of approximately 3000m in the West Pacific are around 1.33μgm-3 and 0.35μgm-3, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-516
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Background carbonaceous content
  • Biomass burning
  • Carbons from biomass burning
  • High-elevation aerosol


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