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Impact of Biomass Burning Plumes on the Size-segregated Aerosol Chemistry over an Urban Atmosphere at Indo-Gangetic Plain

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Article In Press
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.12.0590
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Abhinandan Ghosh1, Arindam Roy1, Abhijit Chatterjee 1,2, Sanat K. Das1, Sanjay K. Ghosh2,3, Sibaji Raha1,2,3

  • 1 Environmental Sciences Section, Bose Institute, Kolkata 700054, India
  • 2 National Facility on Astroparticle Physics and Space Science, Bose Institute, Darjeeling 734101, India
  • 3 Center for Astroparticle Physics and Space Science, Bose Institute, Kolkata 700091, India


Transport of biomass burning plume from Eastern Ghat to Kolkata metropolis.
Transported plume enhanced accumulation and ultrafine aerosols over Kolkata.
Transported plume changed the mass-size distribution pattern of aerosol over Kolkata.


A study was conducted on the impact of biomass burning plumes transported from the Eastern Ghats region on the chemical characteristics of size-segregated aerosols over Kolkata, a tropical megacity situated in the eastern part of the Indo-Gangetic Plain. A Micro Orifice Uniform Deposit Impactor (MOUDI) was used to collect size-segregated aerosols affected and unaffected by the influence of transported biomass burning plumes during the pre-monsoon season (March–May) in 2016. Satellite observations revealed the presence of a thick polluted aerosol layer over Kolkata during the fire episodes, whereas a clean marine aerosol layer was observed during the normal episodes. Transported plumes enhanced the fine-mode aerosols, whereas the coarse-mode aerosols remained unaffected. PM1.0-0.1 and PM0.1 were greatly affected by the transported plumes, with a threefold increase during the fire episodes. K+, NH4+ and SO42– showed significant increases in the accumulation-mode (PM1.0-0.1) under the influence of biomass burning plumes, whereas NO3 showed an increase in the coarse-mode aerosols. The transported plumes did not change the mass-size distribution patterns of K+, NH4+ and SO42– (in which the unimodal fine-mode was dominant), but NO3 showed a change from a bimodal to a unimodal coarse-mode distribution under the influence of the plumes. It was observed that the biomass burning plumes interacted strongly with the accumulation- and superfine-mode (PM0.1) sea-salt particles, leading to the depletion of chloride. The maximum chloride depletion (~80%) was observed in the size range of 0.56–0.32 µm. It was observed that non-sea-SO42– was the key constituent responsible for the chloride loss from sea-salt particles. The biomass burning plume was found to have the potential to shift the dominance from coarse- to fine-mode particles in the mass-size distribution pattern of the total aerosols.


Shifting cultivation Size-segregated aerosols Biomass burning Eastern Ghats

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