Articles | Volume 12, issue 14
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6645–6665, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 6645–6665, 2012

Research article 26 Jul 2012

Research article | 26 Jul 2012

Seasonal variations of water-soluble organic carbon, dicarboxylic acids, ketocarboxylic acids, and α-dicarbonyls in Central Himalayan aerosols

P. Hegde1,2 and K. Kawamura1 P. Hegde and K. Kawamura
  • 1Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan
  • 2Space Physics Laboratory, Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum, India

Abstract. Aerosol samples were collected from a high elevation mountain site (Nainital, India; 1958 m a.s.l.) in the central Himalayas, a location that provides an isolated platform above the planetary boundary layer to better understand the composition of the remote continental troposphere. The samples were analyzed for water-soluble dicarboxylic acids (C2-C12) and related compounds (ketocarboxylic acids and α-dicarbonyls), as well as organic carbon, elemental carbon and water soluble organic carbon. The contributions of total dicarboxylic acids to total aerosol carbon during wintertime were 1.7% and 1.8%, for day and night, respectively whereas they were significantly smaller during summer. Molecular distributions of diacids revealed that oxalic (C2) acid was the most abundant species followed by succinic (C4) and malonic (C3) acids. The average concentrations of total diacids (433±108 ng m−3), ketoacids (48±23 ng m−3), and α-dicarbonyls (9±4 ng m−3) were similar to those from large Asian cities such as Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong. During summer most of the organic species were several times more abundant than in winter. Phthalic acid, which originates from oxidation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as naphthalene, was found to be 7 times higher in summer than winter. This feature has not been reported before in atmospheric aerosols. Based on molecular distributions and air mass backward trajectories, we conclude that dicarboxylic acids and related compounds in Himalayan aerosols are derived from anthropogenic activities in the highly populated Indo-Gangetic plain areas.

Final-revised paper