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Increase of Ambient PCDD/F Concentrations in Northern Taiwan during Asian Dust Storm and Winter Monsoon Episodes

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Volume: 14 | Issue: 4 | Pages: 1279-1291
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2013.03.0097
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Kai Hsien Chi 1, Charles C.K. Chou2, Chi-Ming Peng3, Moo Been Chang4, Chuan-Yao Lin2, Chueh-Ting Li1

  • 1 Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, National Yang Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan
  • 2 Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei 115, Taiwan
  • 3 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, Chungli 320, Taiwan
  • 4 Graduate Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, Chungli 320, Taiwan

Abstract

In the spring, Asian dust storms that originate in the deserts of Mongolia and China eventually reach the populated areas of East Asia. The dust storm particles usually contain diverse organic matter and nutrients that may have an adverse effect on human health. In winter, northeast monsoon episodes that originate in the mainland China not only bring cold air but also transport dust and air pollutants to Taiwan over long distances. Based on the above, the presence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/Fs), in the suspended particles undergoing long-range transport needs to be investigated. In this study, the atmospheric concentrations of PCDD/Fs were monitored and investigated during an Asian dust storm episode and northeast monsoon episode in northern Taiwan. The sampling results indicate that the atmospheric PCDD/Fs observed at two remote sampling sites ranged from 7.46 ± 0.7 to 37.2 ± 2.0 fg I-TEQ/m3 during the regular sampling period that covered 2006 and 2007. However, the concentrations of atmospheric PCDD/Fs increase to 61.0 and 69.8 fg I-TEQ/m3 during the Asian dust storm episode of 3rd March 2008 and during a northeast monsoon episode on 3rd December 2008, respectively. Specifically, higher levels of PCDFs (by 70%–76%) were measured in northern Taiwan during these long-range transport periods. As no specific dioxin emission sources exist within 20 km of our sampling sites, the increase in PCDD/F concentrations observed at these two remote sampling sites is likely to be related to the Asian dust storm and northeast monsoon episodes and the pollutants would seem to have come from mainland China.

Keywords

Dioxin Monsoon Sand storm Aerosol Ambient air Long-range transport


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