Absorption properties and size distribution of aerosol particles during the fall season at an urban site of Gwangju, Korea

Park, Seungshik;Yu, Geun-Hye

  • Received : 2018.05.04
  • Accepted : 2018.07.12
  • Published : 2019.03.31


To investigate the influence of pollution events on the chemical composition and formation processes of aerosol particles, 24-h integrated size-segregated particulate matter (PM) was collected during the fall season at an urban site of Gwangju, Korea and was used to determine the concentrations of mass, water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) and ionic species. Furthermore, black carbon (BC) concentrations were observed with an aethalometer. The entire sampling period was classified into four periods, i.e., typical, pollution event I, pollution event II, and an Asian dust event. Stable meteorological conditions (e.g., low wind speed, high surface pressure, and high relative humidity) observed during the two pollution events led to accumulation of aerosol particles and increased formation of secondary organic and inorganic aerosol species, thus causing $PM_{2.5}$ increase. Furthermore, these stable conditions resulted in the predominant condensation or droplet mode size distributions of PM, WSOC, $NO_3{^-}$, and $SO{_4}^{2-}$. However, difference in the accumulation mode size distributions of secondary water-soluble species between pollution events I and II could be attributed to the difference in transport pathways of air masses from high-pollution regions and the formation processes for the secondary chemical species. The average absorption ${\AA}ngstr{\ddot{o}}m$ exponent ($AAE_{370-950}$) for 370-950 nm wavelengths > 1.0 indicates that the BC particles from traffic emissions were likely mixed with light absorbing brown carbon (BrC) from biomass burning (BB) emissions. It was found that light absorption by BrC in the near UV range was affected by both secondary organic aerosol and BB emissions. Overall, the pollution events observed during fall at the study site can be due to the synergy of unfavorable meteorological conditions, enhanced secondary formation, local emissions, and long-range transportation of air masses from upwind polluted areas.


Asian dust;Brown carbon light absorption;Pollution events;Size distributions;Stable weather conditions


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)