Monitoring of Ambient Air Particles and Inorganic Elements in China and Korea during an Asian Dust Storm

  • Received : 2010.07.26
  • Accepted : 2010.10.15
  • Published : 2010.10.31


Concentrations of ambient air particles such as total suspended particulates (TSP), particulate matter $(PM)_{10}$, and $PM_{2.5}$, were monitored simultaneously from May to June, 2007, at four locations at Alashan and Beijing in China, and Seoul and Gosan in South Korea. These monitoring sites are in the pathway of Asian dust (AD) storms traveling from China to the Korean peninsula. An AD event was observed in the Korean peninsula on May 25-26. During the sampling period, the average concentrations of TSP and PM10 were each higher than $150\;{\mu}g/m^3$ in Alashan and Beijing, but not in Seoul and Gosan. The concentration of TSP in Alashan (where the dust storm originated) on the day of the AD event reached $1824.7\;{\mu}g/m^3$, this being the highest concentration of air particles observed during the sampling period. The level was decreased to 15% of this ($274.7\;{\mu}g/m^3$) in Seoul and to 8.7% ($159.0\;{\mu}g/m^3$) in Gosan when the AD was observed two days later in Korea. Gosan, a representative background site in East Asia, displayed the lowest concentration of particles, with this maximal TSP concentration of $159\;{\mu}g/m^3$. Inorganic element contents in the air particles were also measured, and the concentrations in the four different regions compared. Concentrations of anthropogenically-enriched heavy metals in $PM_{10}$ and $PM_{2.5}$, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, were higher in the metropolitan cities of Beijing and Seoul compared to non-industrialized regions of Alashan and Gosan. However, the concentrations of inorganic soil elements including iron, magnesium, aluminum sodium, and manganese, were higher in Alashan compared to those in other sampling sites.


asian dust;monitoring;China and Korea;inorganic elements


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