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PM10 Sampling and AOD Trends during 2016 Winter Fog Season in the Islamabad Region

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Article In Press
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.01.0014
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Gufran Bulbul1, Imran Shahid1, Farrukh Chishtie 3,4, Muhammad Zeeshaan Shahid5, Rabia Ali Hundal1, Fatima Zahra1, Muhammad Imran Shahzad2

  • 1 Department of Space Science, Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
  • 2 Department of Meteorology, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad 45550, Pakistan
  • 3 Theoretical Research Institute, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (TRIPAS), Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
  • 4 SERVIR-Mekong, Asian Disaster Preparedness Center, Bangkok 10400, Thailand
  • 5 King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia


In a first study, PM10 samples were collected in intensive fog days in Islamabad.
PM10 varied from 123 to 202 µg m–3 with a mean concentration of 177 µg m–3.
PM10 levels were higher as compared to limits of Pak-NEQS and WHO guidelines.
Si, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Fe, Pb, Al found with crystalline shapes, source as soil.
AOD levels were found to be elevated during heavy fog days.


PM10 samples were collected during intensive fog days in Islamabad, Pakistan, to investigate the impact of particulate matter on fog formation. The PM10 concentrations were monitored at the Institute of Space Technology site using a high-volume air sampler and its elemental composition was studied using Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). Sampling was done for a duration of 24 hours on selected days, including all foggy days in a period from January 2016 to February 2016. The concentration of PM10 varied from 123 µg m–3 to 202 µg m–3 with an overall mean concentration of 177 µg m–3. On most occasions, PM10 levels were considerably high as compared to permissible limits of both Pak-NEQS and WHO guidelines. It has been observed that the air quality during fog days was much worse, with elevated levels of particulate matter observed during foggy days. The SEM- EDS revealed the presence of different elements including metals such as Si, K, Ca, Mg, Zn, Fe, Cr, Pb, Al, etc. The morphological studies suggest that most of the particles are crystalline in shape, suggesting their main source as soil. Some samples also showed round spherical shape which refers their anthropogenic source. The sun photometer observations of aerosol optical depth (AOD) and satellite observations from Aqua’s Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectro-radiometer (MODIS) showed significant correlation. Moreover, elevated level of AOD were found during heavy fog days. The validated high satellite AOD were associated with high PM10 concentration during heavy fog days.


Aerosol optical depth Aerosol sampling and transport Air pollution PM10 Fog

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