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Study of Surface Morphology, Elemental Composition and Origin of Atmospheric Aerosols (PM2.5 and PM10) over Agra, India

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Volume: 14 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1685-1700
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2014.01.0017
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Atar Singh Pipal 1, Rohi Jan1, P.G. Satsangi1, Suresh Tiwari2, Ajay Taneja 3

  • 1 Department of Chemistry, University of Pune, Pune 411007, India
  • 2 Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, New Delhi 110060, India
  • 3 Department of Chemistry, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar University, Agra 282002, India


To determine the mass, number concentrations level of PM (PM2.5 and PM10).
Study of surface morphology of PM (PM2.5 and PM10).
Identification of elemental composition.
Source identification of aerosols over a World Heritage city at Agra, India.


In situ measurements of PM (PM2.5 and PM10) particles were carried out using a medium volume air sampler (offline) and particle number concentrations of PM were measured by a Grimm aerosol spectrophotometer (online) during the study period of 2010–2011. The morphology and elemental composition analyses of PM were performed by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive Spectrometry (EDS), respectively. The average mass concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were 97.2 and 242.6 µg/m3 at roadside (RD) and 121.2 and 230.5 µg/m3 at a semirural (SR) site, respectively. These concentrations were substantially higher than the NAAQS, WHO and USEPA standards. The highest mass and number concentrations of PM2.5 and PM10 were observed during winter, followed by those during the post-monsoon period and summer, with the lowest in the monsoon period. SEM and EDS analysis of PM indicated the presence of soot, mineral, tarballs, fly ash, aluminosilicates/silica, fluorine, carbon rich, and Cl-Na rich particles. Of these particles, soot, tarballs, and F-C rich particles dominate in PM2.5, whereas mineral, aluminosilicates, and Cl-Na rich particles dominate in PM10. The morphology and elemental composition of the particles varied over the seasons due to atmospheric processing. The highest carbon concentration (56%) was observed in PM2.5 during summer at the RD, while in the monsoon, post- monsoon period and winter the carbon concentration was ~9% lower at the RD as compared to the SR. However, the concentration of carbon in PM10 was ~38% higher at the RD as compared to SR during both summer and winter. Air mass backward trajectory cluster analysis was performed, and the results indicate that the aerosol loadings over Agra are mainly transported from the Middle East and Arabian Sea during the summer and monsoon period, while during the pre-monsoon period and winter the aerosol loadings came from the northern region, and were due to the burning of biomass and coal, as well as other local activities.


Mass and number concentration of PM Physicochemical properties Carbon analysis Seasonal variation Source identification

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