Influence of agricultural biomass burning on aerosol size distribution and dry deposition in southeastern Brazil

GO da Rocha, Andrew Allen, AA Cardoso

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    42 Citations (Scopus)


    The size distributed composition of ambient aerosols is used to explore seasonal differences in particle chemistry and to show that dry deposition fluxes of soluble species, including important plant nutrients, increase during periods of biomass (sugar cane trash) burning in Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Measurements were made at a single site centrally located in the State's sugar cane growing region but away from the immediate vicinity of burns, so that the air sampled was representative of the regional background. Calculation of ion equivalent balances showed that during burning periods smaller particles (Aitken and accumulation modes) were more acidic, containing higher concentrations of SO42-, oxalate, NO3-, HCOO-, CH3COO-, and Cl-, but insufficient NH4+ and K+ to achieve neutrality. Larger particles showed an anion deficit due to the presence of unmeasured ions and comprised resuspended dusts modified by accumulation of nitrate, chloride, and organic anions. Increases of resuspended particles during the burning season were attributed to release of earlier deposits from the surfaces of burning vegetation as well as increased vehicle movement on unsurfaced roads. During winter months the relative contribution of combined emissions from road transport and industry diminished due to increased emissions from biomass combustion and other activities specifically associated with the harvest period. Positive increments in annual particulate dry deposition fluxes due to higher fluxes during the sugar cane harvest were 44.3% (NH4+), 42.1 % (K+), 31.8% (Mg2+), 30.4% (HCOO-), 12.8% (Cl-), 6.6% (CH3COO-), 5.2% (Ca2+), 3.8% (SO42-), and 2.3% (NO3-). Na+ and oxalate fluxes were seasonally invariant. Annual aerosol dry deposition fluxes (kg ha(-1)) were 0.5 (Na+), 0.25 (NH4+), 0.39 (K+), 0.51 (Mg2+), 3.19 (Ca2+), 1.34 (Cl-), 4.47 (NO3-), 3.59 (SO42-), 0.58 (oxalate), 0.71 (HCOO-), and 1.38 (CH3COO-). Contributions of this mechanism to combined aerosol dry deposition and precipitation scavenging (inorganic species, excluding gaseous dry deposition) were 31% (Na+), 8% (NH4+), 26% (K+), 63% (Mg2+), 66% (Ca2+), 32% (Cl-), 33% (NO3-), and 36% (SO42-).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5293-5301
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


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