A 1 year record of carbonaceous aerosols from an urban site in the Indo-Gangetic Plain: Characterization, sources, and temporal variability



[1] This study presents a comprehensive 1 year (January 2007–March 2008) data set on the chemical composition of ambient aerosols collected from an urban location (Kanpur) in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP) and suggests that the varying strength of the regional emission sources, boundary layer dynamics, and formation of secondary aerosols all contribute significantly to the temporal variability in the mass concentrations of elemental carbon (EC), organic carbon (OC), and water-soluble OC (WSOC). On average, carbonaceous aerosols contribute nearly one third of the PM10 mass during winter, whereas their fractional mass is only ∼10% during summer. A three- to four-fold increase in the OC and K+ concentrations during winter and a significant linear relation between them suggest biomass burning (wood fuel and agricultural waste) emission as a dominant source. The relatively high OC/EC ratio (average: 7.4 ± 3.5 for n = 66) also supports that emissions from biomass burning are overwhelming for the particulate OC in the IGP. The WSOC/OC ratios vary from 0.21 to 0.70 over the annual seasonal cycle with relatively high ratios in the summer, suggesting the significance of secondary organic aerosols. The long-range transport of mineral aerosols from Iran, Afghanistan, and the Thar Desert (western India) is pronounced during summer months. The temporal variability in the concentrations of selected inorganic constituents and neutralization of acidic species (SO42− and NO3) by NH4+ (dominant during winter) and Ca2+ (in summer) reflect conspicuous changes in the source strength of anthropogenic emissions.