Regional heterogeneities in the emission of airborne primary sugar compounds and biogenic secondary organic aerosols in the East Asian outflow: Evidence for coal combustion as a source of levoglucosan

Md Mozammel Haque, Yanlin Zhang, Srinivas Bikkina, Meehye Lee, Kimitaka Kawamura

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Abstract

Biomass burning (BB) significantly influences the chemical composition of organic aerosols (OAs) in the East Asian outflow. The source apportionment of BB-derived OA is an influential factor for understanding their regional emissions, which is crucial for reducing uncertainties in their projected climate and health effects. We analyzed here three different classes of atmospheric sugar compounds (anhydrosugars, primary sugars, and sugar alcohols) and two types of biogenic secondary organic aerosol (BSOA) tracers (isoprene-and monoterpene-derived SOA products) from a year-long study that collected total suspended particulate matter (TSP) from an island-based receptor site in Gosan, South Korea. We investigate the seasonal variations in the source emissions of BB-derived OA using mass concentrations of anhydrosugars and radiocarbon (14C-) isotopic composition of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) in ambient aerosols. Levoglucosan (Lev) is the most abundant anhydrosugar, followed by galactosan (Gal), and mannosan (Man). Strong correlations of Lev with Gal and Man, along with their ratios (Lev/Gal is 6.65±2.26; Lev/Man is 15.1±6.76) indicate the contribution from hardwood burning emissions. The seasonal trends revealed that the BB impact is more pronounced in winter and fall, as evidenced by the high concentrations of anhydrosugars. Likewise, significant correlations among three primary sugars (i.e., glucose, fructose, and sucrose) emphasized the contribution of airborne pollen. The primary sugars showed higher concentrations in spring/summer than winter/fall. The fungal spore tracer compounds (i.e., arabitol, mannitol, and erythritol) correlated well with trehalose (i.e., a proxy for soil organic carbon), suggesting the origin from airborne fungal spores and soil microbes in the East Asian outflow. These sugar alcohols peaked in summer, followed by spring/fall and winter. Monoterpene-derived SOA tracers were most abundant compared to isoprene SOA tracers. Both BSOA tracers were dominant in summer, followed by fall, spring, and winter. The source apportionment based on multiple linear regressions and diagnostic mass ratios together revealed that BB emissions mostly contributed from hardwood and crop residue burning. We also found significant positive linear relationships of 14C-based nonfossil-and fossil-derived organic carbon fractions with Lev C, along with the comparable regression slopes, suggesting the importance of BB and coal combustion sources in the East Asian outflow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1373-1393
Number of pages21
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume22
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jan 27

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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