Composition of semi-volatile organic compounds in the urban atmosphere of Singapore: influence of biomass burning
1Singapore – Delft Water Alliance, Block E1, #08-25, 1 Engineering Drive 2, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576, Singapore
2Division of Environmental Science and Engineering, Block EA, #03-12, 9 Engineering Drive 1, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117576, Singapore
3Division of Atmospheric Sciences, Desert Research Institute, 2215 Raggio Parkway Reno, NV 89512-1095, USA
Abstract. An intensive field study was conducted in the urban atmosphere of Singapore to investigate the composition of organic compounds in both gaseous and particulate phases during the period of August to early November 2006. 17 atmospheric samples were collected. These samples were subjected to accelerated solvent extraction with a mixture of dichloromethane and acetone and separated into functional group fractions for analyses by GC/MS. Over 180 organic compounds belonging to three major fractions (n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polar organic compounds (POCs)) were identified and quantified. The characteristics and abundance of the n-alkanes, PAHs, mono and dicarboxylic acids, methoxylated phenols and other POCs were determined. The composition of these organic compounds fluctuated temporally with most of them being relatively higher in October than those in other months of the sampling period. 3-D backward air mass trajectory analyses together with the carbon preference index (CPI), molecular diagnostic ratios and molecular markers were used to investigate the origin of organic species measured in this study. Based on these diagnostic tools, the increased abundance of atmospheric organic species during October could be attributed to the occurrence of regional smoke haze episodes due to biomass burning in Indonesia. Among the POCs investigated, phthalic acid and cis-pinonic acid showed a strong linear relationship with maximum daily ozone concentration, indicating secondary organic aerosols (SOA) to be an important contributor to ambient atmospheric organics over Singapore.