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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-293
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-293
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 May 2019

Research article | 21 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Organic tracers of fine aerosol particles in central Alaska: summertime composition and sources

Dhananjay Kumar Deshmukh1, Mozammel Haque1,2, Yongwon Kim3, and Kimitaka Kawamura1 Dhananjay Kumar Deshmukh et al.
  • 1Chubu Institute for Advanced Studies, Chubu University, Kasugai 487-8501, Japan
  • 2Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment, Department of Applied Meteorology, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 3International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks 99775, USA

Abstract. PM2.5 aerosols were collected at Fairbanks (64.51° N and 147.51° W) in central Alaska during the summer of 2009 and analyzed for organic tracer compounds using gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer. The organic compounds were grouped into fourteen classes based on their functional groups and sources. Concentrations of total organics measured ranged from 113 to 1664 ng m−3 (ave. 535 ng m−3). Anhydrosugars (ave. 186 ng m−3) and n-alkanoic acids (ave. 185 ng m−3) were two major classes among the 14 compound classes. The similar temporal trends and strong positive correlations among anhydrosugars and n-alkanoic acids demonstrated that biomass burning (BB) is the major source of organic aerosols (OAs) in central Alaska. The dominance of higher molecular weight n-alkanoic acids over lower molecular weight homologues and their carbon preference index (5.6–9.8) confirmed that they were mostly emitted from plant waxes during BB in central Alaska. The mass concentration ratios of levoglucosan to mannosan denoted that softwood is the main biomass burned. The rainfall event distinctly enhanced the levels of mannitol and arabitol due to the growth of fungi and active discharge of fungal spores in the subarctic region. Molecular compositions of biogenic secondary organic aerosol (BSOA) tracers inferred that isoprene is a crucial precursor of BSOA over central Alaska. Our results suggest forest fires and plant emissions to be the crucial factors controlling the levels and molecular composition of OAs in central Alaska. We presume that the high abundance of BB-derived OAs in central Alaska may have a serious impact on the Arctic climate.

Dhananjay Kumar Deshmukh et al.
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Dhananjay Kumar Deshmukh et al.
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Short summary
Organic tracers are useful to understand the sources and formation mechanisms of organic aerosols. We determined organic tracers in PM2.5 samples collected during the summer season of 2009 using gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer. A notable feature in the Alaskan aerosol is the high levels of anhydrosugars and n-alkanoic acids. Our results demonstrate that forest fires and plant emissions are the crucial factors controlling the organic aerosol burden in the atmosphere of central Alaska.
Organic tracers are useful to understand the sources and formation mechanisms of organic...
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