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Impacts of peat-forest smoke on urban PM2.5 in the Maritime Continent during 2012–2015: Carbonaceous profiles and indicators
- Tham, Jackson, Sarkar, Sayantan, Jia, Shiguo, Reid, Jeffrey S., Mishra, Shailendra, Sudiana, I.M., Swarup, Sanjay, Ong, Choon Nam, Yu, Liya E.
- Environmental pollution 2019 v.248 pp. 496-505
- biomass, burning, organic carbon, particulates, smoke, urban areas, Asia
- This study characterizes impacts of peat-forest (PF) smoke on an urban environment through carbonaceous profiles of >260 daily PM2.5 samples collected during 2012, 2013 and 2015. Organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) comprising eight carbonaceous fractions are examined for four sample groups – non-smoke-dominant (NSD), smoke-dominant (SD), episodic PM2.5 samples at the urban receptor, and near-source samples collected close to PF burning sites. PF smoke introduced much larger amounts of OC than EC, with OC accounting for up to 94% of total carbon (TC), or increasing by up to 20 times in receptor PM2.5. SD PM2.5 at the receptor site and near-source samples have OC3 and EC1 as the dominant fractions. Both sample classes also exhibit char-EC >1.4 times of soot-EC, characterizing smoldering-dominant PF smoke, unlike episodic PM2.5 at the receptor site featuring large amounts of pyrolyzed organic carbon (POC) and soot-EC. Relative to the mean NSD PM2.5 at the receptor, increasing strength of transboundary PF smoke enriches OC3 and OC4 fractions, on average, by factors of >3 for SD samples, and >14 for episodic samples. A peat-forest smoke (PFS) indicator, representing the concentration ratio of (OC2+OC3+POC) to soot-EC, shows a temporal trend satisfactorily correlating with an organic marker (levoglucosan) of biomass burning. The PFS indicator systematically differentiates influences of PF smoke from source to urban receptor sites, with a progressive mean of 3.6, 13.4 and 20.1 for NSD, SD and episodic samples respectively at the receptor site, and 54.7 for the near-source PM2.5. A PFS indicator of ≥5.0 is proposed to determine dominant influence of transboundary PF smoke on receptor urban PM2.5 in the equatorial Asia with ∼90% confidence. Assessing >2900 hourly OCEC data in 2017–2018 supports the applicability of the PFS indicator to evaluate hourly impacts of PF smoke on receptor urban PM2.5 in the Maritime Continent.