Seasonal variation and sources of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a background site on the Tibetan Plateau

Wenying Mi , Xuemei Wu , Weijun Sun , Baojuan Huai , Lei Wang , Chuntan Han , Yetang Wang


Received October 28, 2021,Revised , Accepted February 23, 2022, Available online March 05, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 524-532

The study of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in northeastern Tibetan Plateau with fragile ecological environment and complex atmospheric circulation system is blank. To understand the characteristics and sources of persistent organic pollutants in the atmosphere of the northeastern Tibetan Plateau, we monitored levels in the central Qilian Mountain. From 2016 to 2017, we collected 45-pair (particle + gas) samples using active air samplers to investigate the sources, transport paths, and their influencing factors. Sources of PAHs were analysed with a source diagnostic model, and atmospheric transport paths were calculated. The concentration range for ∑15PAHs was 439–4666 pg/m3, and the average was 2015 pg/m3. The PAHs in central Qilian Mountain are mainly low molecular weight (LMW) PAHs. Winter concentrations of PAHs were higher than those in summer. The transport of PAHs is mainly affected by westerlies, and there are seasonal differences. Source analysis showed that PAHs mainly came from coal and biomass combustion and vehicle emissions, with seasonal differences. This study clarifies the concentration and seasonal variation of PAHs in the northern Tibetan Plateau, which is conducive to understanding the atmospheric transport process and fate of pollutants. The background site of Qilian Mountains located in the Silk Road economic belt has the value and significance of long-term observation of pollutants.

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