Columnar aerosol types and compositions over peninsular Southeast Asia based on long-term AERONET data

Sheng Hsiang Wang, Hsiang Yu Huang, Che Hsuan Lin, Shantanu Kumar Pani, Neng Huei Lin, Chung Te Lee, Serm Janjai, Brent N. Holben, Somporn Chantara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Aerosol chemical components such as black carbon (BC) and brown carbon (BrC) regulate aerosol optical properties, which in turn drive the atmospheric radiative forcing estimations due to aerosols. In this study, we used the long-term measurements from AERONET (Aerosol Robotic Network) to better understand the aerosol types and composition with respect to their seasonal and spatial variabilities in peninsular Southeast Asia (PSEA, here defined as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar). Two methods (i.e., aerosol type cluster and aerosol component retrieval) were applied to determine the aerosol type and chemical composition during the biomass-burning (BB) season. AERONET sites in northern PSEA showed a higher AOD (aerosol optical depth) compared to that of southern PSEA. Differences in land use pattern, geographic location, and weather regime caused much of the aerosol variability over PSEA. Lower single-scattering albedo (SSA) and higher fine-mode fraction (FMF) values were observed in February and March, suggesting the predominance of BB type aerosols with finer and stronger absorbing particles during the dry season. However, we also found that the peak BB month (i.e., March) in northern PSEA may not coincide with the lowest SSA once dust particles have mixed with the other aerosols. Furthermore, we investigated two severe BB events in March of 2014 and 2015, revealing a significant BrC fraction during BB event days. On high AOD days, although the BC fraction was high, the BrC fraction remained low due to lack of aerosol aging. This study highlights the dominance of carbonaceous aerosols in the PSEA atmosphere during the BB season, while also revealing that transported dust particles and BrC aerosol aging may introduce uncertainties into the aerosol radiative forcing calculation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAir Quality, Atmosphere and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Aerosol composition
  • Aerosol optical properties
  • Biomass burning
  • Black carbon
  • Brown carbon


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