Volatile organic compounds over Eastern Himalaya, India: temporal variation and source characterization using Positive Matrix Factorization

C. Sarkar, A. Chatterjee, D. Majumdar, S. K. Ghosh, A. Srivastava, S. Raha
2014 Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> A first ever study on the characterization of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been made over a Himalayan high altitude station in India. A total of 18 VOCs (mono aromatics-BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), non-BTEX substituted aromatics and halocarbon) have been measured over Darjeeling (27.01° N, 88.15° E, 2200 m a.s.l.) in the eastern Himalaya in India during the period of July 2011–June 2012. The annual average concentration of the sum of 18
more » ... of the sum of 18 target VOCs (TVOC) was 376.3 ± 857.2 μg m<sup>−3</sup>. Monoaromatics had the highest contribution (72%) followed by other substituted aromatics (22%) and halocarbon (6%) compounds. Toluene was the most abundant VOC in the atmosphere of Darjeeling with the contribution of ~37% to TVOC followed by benzene (~21%), ethylbenzene (~9%) and xylenes (~6%). TVOC concentrations were highest during the postmonsoon season with minimum solar radiation and lowest during the premonsoon season with maximum solar radiation. Anthropogenic activities related mainly to tourists like diesel and gasoline emissions, biomass and coal burning, use of solvent and solid waste emissions were almost equal in both the seasons. Seasonal variation in TVOCs over Darjeeling was mainly governed by the incoming solar radiation rather than the emission sources. Source apportionment study using Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) model indicated that major fraction of (~60%) TVOC were contributed by diesel and gasoline exhausts followed by solvent evaporation (18%) and other sources. Diesel exhaust was also found to have the maximum potential in tropospheric ozone formation. The atmospheric loading of BTEX over Darjeeling was found to be comparable with several Indian metro cities and much higher than other cities around the world.</p>
doi:10.5194/acpd-14-32133-2014 fatcat:5ky2gcxeojgm5nyblbw7jfnj34