Analysis of size-segregated winter season aerosol data from New Delhi, India

Stephen Baker, Rahul Goel, Sarath K. Guttikunda, Anubha Goel, Anuradha Shukla, Roy Harrison

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Size distributions of particulate matter and twelve constituent elements were measured at a high traffic site in New Delhi, India during winter 2013. While PM was found to be trimodal, individual elements showed varying size distribution patterns. Three key types of size distributions were observed including unimodal with peaks either in the coarse (Al, Si) or fine (Pb) modes, bimodal with peaks in the fine range (S) and multimodal with peaks in accumulation and coarse (Cu, Sb) modes. Elements such as Al, Si and Fe were found to be in predominantly in the coarse range while Cu, Zn, Pb and Sb were found to be in the fine size range. Two modes dominate the size distribution. One is coarse (ca. 3 µm) and contains mainly crustal elements and hence arises from sources such as soil, road dust, construction dust and possible coal fly ash. The other, more intense mode is fine (ca. 0.6 µm) and appears to comprise sulphate and anthropogenic trace metals which have entered the droplet mode through hygroscopic particle growth in the very high humidity conditions of the Delhi winter. A third, less intensive mode ca. at 0.2 µm probably arises from relatively fresh anthropogenic emissions which have not grown into the droplet mode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-109
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Issue number1
Early online date21 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Size distribution
  • India
  • Aerosols
  • Metals


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