Natural Hazards

, Volume 65, Issue 3, pp 1745–1764 | Cite as

Assessment of carbonaceous aerosol over Delhi in the Indo-Gangetic Basin: characterization, sources and temporal variability

  • S. Tiwari
  • A. K. Srivastava
  • D. S. Bisht
  • P. D. Safai
  • P. Parmita
Original Paper


Semi-continuous measurements of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) and continuous measurements of black carbon (BC) and PM2.5 aerosols were conducted simultaneously during the winter period of 2010–2011 at Delhi, one of the polluted urban megacities in western part of the Indo-Gangetic Basin region. The average mass concentrations of OC, EC, BC and PM2.5 were about 54 ± 39, 10 ± 5, 12 ± 5 and 210 ± 146 μg m−3, respectively. Contribution of total carbonaceous aerosol mass to PM2.5 mass was found to be ~46 %. Average OC/EC ratio was found to be 5 ± 2 during the study period, suggesting the presence of secondary organic aerosols in the atmosphere over Delhi. Estimated mean secondary organic aerosol mass concentration was found to be 25 μg m−3 and varied between 14.6 (February) and 37.0 μg m−3 (December). A diurnal variation of OC and EC shows lower values during the day time and higher during the morning and night, which are highly associated with the corresponding variability in mixing layer heights. OC and EC were also found to be significantly correlated (r = 0.71) to each other, indicating their common sources. Concentrations of OC and EC were about 45 and 13 % higher during weekdays than weekends, respectively. Higher OC (67 %) and EC (53 %) were observed in the late evening during weekdays than those on weekends, which could be due to different emission sources during these two periods. The night/day ratio of EC and OC was found to be larger than 1.0, suggesting the relative accumulation of EC and OC near the surface at night hours.


Carbonaceous aerosol Organic carbon Elemental carbon Black carbon PM2.5 Indo-Gangetic Basin 



Authors express their sincere gratitude to Prof. B. N. Goswami, Director, IITM, Pune and Dr. P. C. S. Devara, Head, PM&A, IITM for their encouragement and support during the study period.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Tiwari
    • 1
  • A. K. Srivastava
    • 1
  • D. S. Bisht
    • 1
  • P. D. Safai
    • 2
  • P. Parmita
    • 3
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (Branch)New DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Indian Institute of Tropical MeteorologyPuneIndia
  3. 3.S. C. P. G. CollegeBalliaIndia

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