Individual particle analysis of aerosols collected at Lhasa City in the Tibetan Plateau

Bu Duo , Yunchen Zhang , Lingdong Kong , Hongbo Fu , Yunjie Hu , Jianmin Chen , Lin Li , A. Qiong


Received May 09, 2014,Revised July 18, 2014, Accepted , Available online March 13, 2015

Volume 27,2015,Pages 165-177

To understand the composition and major sources of aerosol particles in Lhasa City on the Tibetan Plateau (TP), individual particles were collected from 2 February to 8 March, 2013 in Tibet University. The mean concentrations of both PM2.5 and PM10 during the sampling were 25.7 ± 21.7 and 57.2 ± 46.7 μg/m3, respectively, much lower than those of other cities in East and South Asia, but higher than those in the remote region in TP like Nam Co, indicating minor urban pollution. Combining the observations with the meteorological parameters and back trajectory analysis, it was concluded that local sources controlled the pollution during the sampling. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) combined with energydispersive X-ray spectra (EDS) was used to study 408 particles sampled on four days. Based on the EDS analysis, a total of 8 different particle categories were classified for all 408 particles, including Si-rich, Ca-rich, soot, K-rich, Fe-rich, Pb-rich, Al-rich and other particles. The dominant elements were Si, Al and Ca, which were mainly attributed to mineral dust in the earth's crust such as feldspar and clay. Fe-, Pb-, K-, Al-rich particles and soot mainly originated from anthropogenic sources like firework combustion and biomass burning during the sampling. During the sampling, the pollution mainly came from mineral dust, while the celebration ceremony and religious ritual produced a large quantity of anthropogenic metal-bearing particles on 9 and 25 February 2013. Cement particles also had a minor influence. The data obtained in this study can be useful for developing pollution control strategies.

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