Articles | Volume 14, issue 4
Research article
17 Feb 2014
Research article |  | 17 Feb 2014

One-year observations of carbonaceous and nitrogenous components and major ions in the aerosols from subtropical Okinawa Island, an outflow region of Asian dusts

B. Kunwar and K. Kawamura

Abstract. Ambient aerosol samples (TSP, n = 50) were collected for 12 months at subtropical Okinawa Island, Japan, an outflow region of Asian dusts in the western North Pacific and analysed for organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC), water-soluble total nitrogen (WSTN), water-soluble organic nitrogen (WSON) and major ions to better understand the formation and transformation of East Asian aerosols during long-range atmospheric transport. Concentration ranges of these components are; OC: 0.76–7.1 μg m−3 (av. 1.7 ± 1.0 μg m−3), EC: 0.07–0.96 μg m−3 (0.28 ± 0.19 μg m−3), WSOC: 0.27–1.9 μg m−3 (0.73 ± 0.38 μg m−3), WSTN: 0.77 to 3.0 μg m−3 (0.58 ± 0.46 μg m−3) and WSON: 0.0–2.2 μg m−3 (0.12 ± 0.23 μg m−3). Higher OC concentrations were obtained in active biota seasons; spring (av. 2.4 μg m−3) and summer (1.8 μg m−3). EC and WSOC concentrations maximized in spring (av. 0.41 μg m−3 and 0.95 μg m−3, respectively) followed by winter (0. 70 and 0.90 μg m−3) whereas they became lowest in summer (0.19 and 0.52 μg m−3). In contrast, WSTN concentrations were highest in winter (0.86 μg m−3) and lowest in summer (0.37 μg m−3) and autumn (0.34 μg m−3). Concentrations of WSON are higher in early summer (av. 0.26 μg m−3) due to the emission from marine biota. The high ratios of OC / EC (av. 7.6) and WSOC / OC (44%) suggest a secondary formation of organic aerosols. Strong correlation between OC and MSA- (0.81) in spring suggests that springtime aerosols are influenced by additional marine and terrestrial biogenic sources. The positive correlation of Ca2+ and TSP in spring (r = = 0.81) demonstrates a significant contribution of Asian dust whereas high abundances of NO3- and nss-SO42- in winter suggest an important contribution from anthropogenic sources including biomass burning, vehicular emission and coal combustion. NH4-N/WSTN ratios peaked in winter (0.56), indicating a significant contribution of biomass burning to WSTN in cold season. In contrast, higher NO3-N/WSTN ratio in spring than winter suggests that the atmospheric transport of vehicular emissions maximizes in spring. Correlation analyses of major ions suggest that NH4+ and Ca2+ play major role in the neutralization of acidic aerosols forming NH4HSO4, (NH4)2SO4 and CaSO4.

Final-revised paper