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Severe air pollution and characteristics of light-absorbing particles in a typical rural area of the Indo-Gangetic Plain

  • Pengfei Chen
  • Shichang KangEmail author
  • Lekhendra Tripathee
  • Arnico K. Panday
  • Maheswar Rupakheti
  • Dipesh Rupakheti
  • Qianggong Zhang
  • Junming Guo
  • Chaoliu Li
  • Tao Pu
Research Article

Abstract

Total suspended particles (TSP) were collected in Lumbini from April 2013 to March 2016 to better understand the characteristics of carbonaceous aerosol (CA) concentrations, compositions and sources and their light absorption properties in rural region of severe polluted Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP). Extremely high TSP (203.9 ± 109.6 μg m−3), organic carbon (OC 32.1 ± 21.7 μg m−3), elemental carbon (EC 6.44 ± 3.17 μg m−3) concentrations were observed in Lumbini particularly during winter and post-monsoon seasons, reflecting the combined influences of emission sources and weather conditions. SO42− (7.34 ± 4.39 μg m−3) and Ca2+ (5.46 ± 5.20 μg m−3) were the most dominant anion and cation in TSP. These components were comparable to those observed in urban areas in South and East Asia but significantly higher than those in remote regions over the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau, suggesting severe air pollution in the study region. Various combustion activities including industry, vehicle emission, and biomass burning are the main reasons for high pollutant concentrations. The variation of OC/EC ratio further suggested that biomass such as agro-residue burning contributed a lot for CA, particularly during the non-monsoon season. The average mass absorption cross-section of EC (MACEC) and water-soluble organic carbon (MACWSOC) were 7.58 ± 3.39 and 1.52 ± 0.41 m2 g−1, respectively, indicating that CA in Lumbini was mainly affected by local emissions. Increased biomass burning decreased MACEC; whereas, it could result in high MACWSOC during the non-monsoon season. Furthermore, dust is one important factor causing higher MACWSOC during the pre-monsoon season.

Keywords

Air pollution Organic carbon Elemental carbon Light absorption Lumbini Indo-Gangetic Plain 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Lekhendra Tripathee acknowledges the Chinese Academy of Science for international Young staff support under the PIFI (2020FYC0001) program. The authors acknowledge the support provided by staffs at the Lumbini sampling site.

Funding information

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41705132, 41630754), the Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (STEP) (2019QZKK0605), Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road (Pan-TPE) (XDA20040501), the CAS “Light of West China” program, and State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science (SKLCS-OP-2018-01). This study is part of a framework across the HTP: Atmospheric Pollution and Cryospheric Changes (APCC).

Supplementary material

11356_2020_7618_MOESM1_ESM.docx (169 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 169 kb)

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pengfei Chen
    • 1
  • Shichang Kang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Lekhendra Tripathee
    • 1
  • Arnico K. Panday
    • 4
  • Maheswar Rupakheti
    • 5
  • Dipesh Rupakheti
    • 1
  • Qianggong Zhang
    • 2
    • 6
  • Junming Guo
    • 1
  • Chaoliu Li
    • 2
    • 6
  • Tao Pu
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and ResourcesLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.University of CASBeijingChina
  4. 4.International Centre for Integrated Mountain DevelopmentKathmanduNepal
  5. 5.Institute for Advanced Sustainability StudiesPotsdamGermany
  6. 6.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface ProcessesInstitute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CASBeijingChina

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