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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-831
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-831
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 27 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 27 Sep 2019

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

An optimized tracer-based approach for estimating organic carbon emissions from biomass burning in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Jayant Nirmalkar1, Tsatsral Batmunkh2, and Jinsang Jung1 Jayant Nirmalkar et al.
  • 1Center for Gas Analysis, Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS), Daejeon 34113, Republic of Korea
  • 2Central Laboratory of Environment and Metrology, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Abstract. The impact of biomass burning (BB) on atmospheric particulate matter of < 2.5 μm diameter (PM2.5) at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, was investigated using an optimized tracer-based approach during winter and spring, 2017. Integrated 24 h PM2.5 samples were collected on quartz filters using a 30 L min−1 air sampler at an urban site in Ulaanbaatar. The aerosol samples were analyzed for organic (OC) and elemental (EC) carbon, anhydrosugars (levoglucosan, mannosan, and galactosan), and water-soluble ions. OC was found to be the predominant species, contributing 64 % and 56 % to total aerosol compositions in winter and spring, respectively. BB was identified as a major source of PM2.5, followed by dust and secondary aerosols. Levoglucosan / mannosan and levoglucosan / K+ ratios indicate that softwood is the major fuel type in Ulaanbaatar. Because of the large uncertainty associated with quantitative estimates of OC emitted from BB (OCBB), a novel approach was developed to optimize the OC / levoglucosan ratio for estimating OCBB. The optimum OC / levoglucosan ratio was obtained by regression analysis between daily atmospheric concentrations of OCnon-BB (OCtotal–OCBB) and levoglucosan, with the softwood OC / levoglucosan ratio that gives the lowest correlation coefficient (R2) and slope in the regression analysis being treated as the optimum ratio. The optimum OC / levoglucosan ratio was found to be 27.6 and 18.0 for winter and spring, respectively, and these values were applied in quantifying OCBB. It was found that 68 % and 63 % of OC originated from BB during winter and spring, respectively. In addition to OCBB, sources of OCnon-BB were investigated through multivariate correlation analysis, and indicate that OCnon-BB originated mainly from coal burning, vehicles, and vegetative emissions.

Jayant Nirmalkar et al.
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Jayant Nirmalkar et al.
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Short summary
We have developed a novel tracer-based approach to optimize organic carbon (OC) / levoglucosan ratio for estimating precise concentration of OC emitted from biomass burning (OCBB). The application of these ratios indicates that 68 % (winter) and 63 % (spring) of OC originated from BB. The approach developed here may be applied elsewhere for screening region-specific OC / levoglucosan ratios for estimating atmospheric appropriate concentrations of OCBB, aiding the establishment of BB control measures.
We have developed a novel tracer-based approach to optimize organic carbon (OC) / levoglucosan...
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