Speciation of ambient fine organic carbon particles and source apportionment of PM2.5 in Indian cities

Zohir Chowdhury, Mei Zheng , James J. Schauer , Rebecca J. Sheesley , Lynn G. Salmon, Glen R. Cass , and Armistead G. Russell,
Journal of Geophysical Research 112 (2007) D15303.


Fine particle organic carbon in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chandigarh is speciated to quantify sources contributing to fine particle pollution. Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry of 29 particle-phase organic compounds, including n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), hopanes, steranes, and levoglucosan along with quantification of silicon, aluminum and elemental carbon are used in a molecular-marker based source apportionment model to quantify the primary source contributions to the PM2.5 mass concentrations for four seasons in three sites, and for the summer in Chandigarh. Five sources are identified and quantified: diesel engine exhaust, gasoline engine exhaust, road dust, coal combustion, and biomass combustion. Important trends in the seasonal and spatial patterns of the impact of these five sources are observed. On average, primary emissions from fossil fuel combustion (coal, diesel, and gasoline) are responsible for about 25-33% of PM2.5 mass in Delhi, 21-36% in Mumbai, 37-57% in Kolkata, and 28% in Chandigarh. These figures can be compared to the biomass combustion contributions to ambient PM2.5 of 7-20% for Delhi, 7-20% for Mumbai, 13-18% for Kolkata, and 8% for Chandigarh. These measurements provide important information about the seasonal and spatial distribution of fine particle-phase organic compounds in Indian cities as well as quantifying source contributions leading to the fine particle air pollution in those cities.

Download complete paper

Back to Publications List

Lynn Garry Salmon <>{