Influence of Petrochemical Installations Upon PAH Concentrations at Sites in Western Saudi Arabia

Roy Harrison, Mohammed Alam, Juan Dang, J Basahi, A. Alghamdi, I.M. Ismail, M. Khoder, I.A. Hassan

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Measurements of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) congeners (particles and vapour) have been made at three sites over a distance of 230 km on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. The data have been pooled with an earlier dataset from three sites in the city of Jeddah, with one urban site common to both studies. The concentrations and congener profiles are broadly similar for the two measurement campaigns at the common site. Coefficients of Divergence have been calculated and show more substantial differences between the sites within the city of Jeddah than are found between the sites to the north of the city which emphasises the strong concentration gradients within Jeddah in comparison to those found in the atmosphere of the coastal sites to the north of the city. A sub-set of data corresponding to days on which the air mass travelled from the northwest parallel with the Red Sea coast, hence linking the three sites, showed a progressive reduction in concentrations as the air mass travelled towards the southeast, which is attributed to emissions from a large source area to the northwest of the sampling sites and either atmospheric dilution or chemical reaction accounting for a progressive reduction in concentrations with advection of the air mass. The congener profile is very similar to that identified in earlier work relating to oil refinery emissions and is consistent with the major petrochemical installation at Yanbu contributing substantial emissions to the atmosphere which are advected to downwind sites.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAtmospheric Pollution Research
Early online date14 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2016


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • spatial analyses
  • atmospheric concentrations
  • petrochemical works
  • Saudi Arabia


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