NATURE OF ATMOSPHERIC AEROSOLS OVER THE DESERT AREAS IN THE ASIAN CONTINENT: CHEMICAL STATE AND NUMBER CONCENTRATION OF PARTICLES MEASURED AT DUNHUANG, CHINA


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Abstract

Measurements of aerosol were made in August and October 2001, and January 2002, at Dunhuang, China (40°00′N, 94°30′E), to understand the nature of atmospheric particles over the desert areas in the Asian continent. Balloon-borne measurements with an optical particle counter suggested that particle size and concentration had a noticeable peak in size range of super micron in not only the boundary mixing layer but also the free troposphere. Thickness of the boundary mixing layer, from distributions of particle concentration, was about 4 km in summer (17 August 2001), about 2.5 km in fall (17 October 2001), and about 3 km in winter (11 January 2002), which suggest active mixing of particles near the boundary in summer. Number-size distribution of particle showed a noticeable peak in the super micron particles size range in the mixing boundary layer: 0.4–2 particles cm-3 at diameter >1.2 μm in summer, 0.05–4 particles cm-3 at diameter >1.2 μm in fall, and 0.1–5 particles cm-3 at diameter >1.2 μm in winter. In winter strong inversion of atmospheric temperature was found in the height range from the boundary to about 3 km and vertical distribution of particle concentration well corresponded with the temperature distribution. Chemical elements of individual aerosols, which were collected in the boundary layer atmosphere at Dunhuang (18 October 2001) were analyzed with an electron microscope equipped with EDX. Those single particle analysis suggested that most of the particles with super micron size were soil particles, and those particles had little sulfate on its surface. This is a very important different point, comparing with the chemical state of soil particles, which were transported from the desert area of China to Japan, and showed frequently the existence of sulfate on the particle surface. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that dust particles can be chemically modified during their long-range transport from desert areas to Japan.

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