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Temporal Trend of the Major Contributors for the Particulate Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Seoul

Category: Urban Air Quality

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2018.06.0231
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Sanghee Han1, Ji Yi Lee1, Jongbae Heo 2, Yong Pyo Kim 3

  • 1 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea
  • 2 Department of Environmental Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
  • 3 Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea


PMF model was applied to verify the sources of ambient PAHs at Seoul.
Long-term trends of the sources (12 years) were verified with five factors.
Effectiveness of air quality polices in Korea and China was verified.
Uncertainties occurred from model and emission factors were also discussed.


To check the effectiveness of the air quality management policies in Northeast Asia, especially in China and South Korea, temporal variation for the major contributors of the observed particulate PAHs in Seoul between 2002 and 2013 was estimated by receptor modeling. In addition, analyses of the air parcel movement and the statistics related to energy usage and emissions of PAHs in the region were carried out to validate the modeling results. Five factors were identified: coal usage for coke ovens, residential coal use, vehicular emission, biomass burning, and others. It was found that the PAH concentration in the ambient air in Seoul has been affected not only from emissions inside but also transported PAHs from outside of Korea, such as the emission from coal use in China, and biomass burning in Northeast Asia. In addition, the impact from North Korea was verified for the PAHs emitted from biomass burning. The contribution of coal combustion decreased and that of vehicular sources increased during the period, while the biomass burning presented similar contributions. Uncertainties on the modeling result were also discussed. This study demonstrates that the air quality management policies in China and South Korea have been successful in reducing particulate PAHs emissions.


Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) Major contributor Northeast Asia Emission trends Air quality management policy

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