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Seasonal Variation of Saccharides and Furfural in Atmospheric Aerosols at a Semi-Urban Site

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 15 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 821-832
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2014.07.0136
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Thunwadee Srithawirat 1, Peter Brimblecombe2

  • 1 Department of Environmental Science, Faculty of Science and Technology, Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University, Phitsanulok 65000, Thailand
  • 2 School of Energy and Environment, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Highlights

Saccharides and furfural concentrations in aerosols at a semi-urban site.
Significant seasonal variation of fine and coarse mode aerosols. 
Potential for to be tracers of biomass combustion. 
Effect of long-range transport and shorter lifetime on age of biomass smoke.


Abstract

Seasonal variability of daily particle mass and saccharides and furfural concentrations in atmospheric particulate matter in both coarse aerosols (diameter > 2.4 µm) and fine aerosols (diameter < 2.4 µm) was determined for a semi-urban area in the United Kingdom. Saccharides, which include levoglucosan, and furfural are derived from biomass burning and contribute to aerosol composition. This study examined the potential of saccharides and furfural as tracers for biomass combustion. High saccharide concentrations were observed in the autumn, but they did not show a high correlation with potassium expected in biomass smoke. These results may imply that the high saccharide concentrations are derived not only from biomass burning sources, but also from non-combustion sources, such as leaf decay. Significant seasonal variations were observed for saccharides and furfural species in fine atmospheric aerosols. Furfural is likely to be oxidized quickly in comparison with saccharides, so while saccharides such as levoglucosan are known to be fairly stable in the atmosphere, furfural could be transformed. Trajectory and factor analysis suggest that the saccharides may result from long-range transport, while furfural may be more influenced by the local sources possibly because of its shorter lifetime. This result may suggest it could give clues as to the age of biomass smoke.

Keywords

Particulate matter Biomass smoke markers Age of biomass smoke


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