Source attribution of insoluble light-absorbing particles in seasonal snow across northern China
Abstract. Seasonal snow samples obtained at 46 sites in 6 provinces of China in January and February 2010 were analyzed for a suite of chemical species and these data are combined with previously determined concentrations of insoluble light-absorbing particles (ILAP), including all particles that absorb light in the 650–700 nm wavelength interval. The ILAP, together with 14 other analytes, are used as input to a positive matrix factorization (PMF) receptor model to explore the sources of ILAP in the snow. The PMF analysis for ILAP sources is augmented with backward trajectory cluster analysis and the geographic locations of major source areas for the three source types. The two analyses are consistent and indicate that three factors/sources were responsible for the measured light absorption of snow: a soil dust source, an industrial pollution source, and a biomass and / or biofuel burning source. Soil dust was the main source of the ILAP, accounting for ~53% of ILAP on average.