Quantification of Organic Carbon from Biomass Versus Non-Biomass Burning Emissions to Fine Aerosol

Quantification of organic carbon

  • Atinderpal Singh Department of Physics, Punjabi University, Patiala, Punjab
  • Neeraj Rastogi Geosciences Division, Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Keywords: Potassium; Tracer; OC; WSOC; agriculture-waste burning


Present study quantifies the contribution of biomass burning (BB) to ambient organic carbon (OC) in fine aerosol over Patiala (30.33°N, 76.40°E; 250m amsl), located in the northwestern Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP). Towards this, size-segregated aerosol samples were collected over an annual cycle (October-2012 to September-2013). All of these samples were analyzed for major inorganic ions and particulate matter smaller than 1 µm aerodynamic diameter (PM1) were analyzed for carbonaceous aerosol. The contribution of BB derived potassium K+BB to ambient fine K+ is found to be dominant (77 ± 24%) over an annual cycle. Further, regression parameters of OC and K+BB linear relationships are used to quantify the contribution of BB to ambient OC in PM1. The contribution of BB derived OC (OCBB) to fine OC was significantly higher during autumn (69%), winter (54%) and summer (40%) seasons in comparison to that during spring (26%) and wet (2%) seasons with the annual average of 41±30%. Emissions from agricultural-waste burning during autumn and summer, and from bio-fuel burning during winter are the major sources of ambient OC over the study region. The contribution of BB derived water-soluble organic carbon (WSOCBB) to fine WSOC exhibited similar seasonal variation as that of OCBB to fine OC. It was 75%, 55%, 14%, 44% and 5% during autumn, winter, spring, summer and wet seasons respectively, with the annual average of 43±32%. These results have implication in climate modelling, health impact assessment and planning effective mitigation strategies.



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