Aerosol Mass Spectral Profiles from NAMaSTE Field-Sampled South Asian Combustion Sources

J. Douglas Goetz, Michael R. Giordano, Chelsea E. Stockwell, Prakash V. Bhave, Praveen S. Puppala, Arnico K. Panday, Thilina Jayarathne, Elizabeth A. Stone, Robert J. Yokelson, Peter F. Decarlo

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Unit mass resolution mass spectral profiles of nonrefractory submicron aerosol were retrieved from undersampled atmospheric emission sources common to South Asia using a "mini" aerosol mass spectrometer. Emission sources including wood- and dung-fueled cookstoves, agricultural residue burning, garbage burning, engine exhaust, and coal-fired brick kilns were sampled during the 2015 Nepal Ambient Monitoring and Source Testing Experiment (NAMaSTE) campaign. High-resolution peak fitting estimates of the mass spectra were used to characterize ions found within each source profile and help identify mass spectral signatures unique to aerosol emissions from the investigated source types. The first aerosol mass spectral profiles of dung burning, charcoal burning, garbage burning, and brick kilns are provided in this work. The online aerosol mass spectra show that organics were generally the dominant component of the nonrefractory aerosol. However, inorganic aerosol components including ammonium and chloride were significant in dung- and charcoal-fired cookstove emissions and sulfate compounds were major components of the coal-fired brick kiln emissions. Organic mass spectra from both the charcoal burning and zigzag brick kiln were dominated by nitrogen-containing ions thought to be from the electron ionization of amines and amides contained in the emissions. The mixed garbage burning emissions profiles were dominated by plastic combustion with very low fractions of organic markers associated with biomass burning. The plastic burning emissions were associated with enhanced organic signal at mass-to-charge (m/z) 104 and m/z 166, which could be useful fragment ion indicators for garbage burning in ambient aerosol profiles. Finally, a framework for the identification of emission sources using the unit mass resolution organic mass fractions at m/z 55 (f55), m/z 57 (f57), and m/z 60 (f60) is proposed in this work. Plotting the ratio of f55to f57versus f60is found to be effective for the identification of emissions by the fuel type and even useful in separating emissions of similar source types. Although the sample size was limited, these results give further context to the aerosol and gas-phase emission factors presented in other NAMaSTE works and provide a critical reference for future aerosol composition measurements in South Asia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2619-2631
Number of pages13
JournalACS Earth and Space Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 17 2022


  • South Asia
  • aerosol emissions
  • aerosol mass spectrometry
  • biomass burning
  • brick kiln
  • garbage burning


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