Hoang Xuan Co1, Nghiem Trung Dung2, Nguyen Thi Kim Oanh 3, Nguyen Thanh Hang3, Nguyen Hong Phuc3, Hoang Anh Le1

  • 1 Faculty of Environmental Science, Hanoi University of Science, (null), Vietnam
  • 2 School of Environmental Science and Technology, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, (null), Vietnam
  • 3 Environmental Engineering and Management, Asian Institute of Technology, (null), Thailand

Received: October 8, 2013
Revised: January 23, 2014
Accepted: March 24, 2014
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2013.09.0300  

Cite this article:
Co, H.X., Dung, N.T., Oanh, N.T.K., Hang, N.T., Phuc, N.H. and Le, H.A. (2014). Levels and Composition of Ambient Particulate Matter at a Mountainous Rural Site in Northern Vietnam. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 14: 1917-1928. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2013.09.0300


  • PM2.5 and PM10 monitoring was conducted in dry, transitional and wet season in a mountainous site.

  • Highest 24 h PM were observed in dry season followed by transitional and wet season.

  • Reconstructed mass showed high contribution of secondary inorganic particles, OM-biomass, crustal and soot to PM2.5.

  • Statistical analysis of HYSPLIT patterns showed potential contribution from long range transport.



Samples of 24 h PM10 and PM2.5 were collected at a mountainous rural site of Tamdao, Vietnam, using collocated dichotomous and MiniVol samplers. The sampling was done in wet season (20 September–8 October 2005), dry season (17 December 2005–18 January 2006) and transitional season (5 April–26 April 2010). A pair of PM2.5 and PM10–2.5 or PM10 samples was collected on a sampling day using quartz and mixed cellulose filters for each size fraction. The samples were analyzed for mass, BC, water soluble inorganic ions and elemental compositions. Higher PM2.5 levels were obtained during dry season, at an average of 51 µg/m3, followed by the transitional season, 33 µg/m3, and the lowest in wet season, 25 µg/m3. The ratios between anions and cations, both in equivalence, were all below 1.0, but was higher for PM2.5 than for PM10–2.5. The ammonium balance showed a good agreement between measured and estimated levels for PM2.5, suggesting that most of sulfate and nitrate were in their ammonium salts. The reconstructed mass showed high contributions from secondary inorganic particles, OM-biomass (estimated based on K+), crustal and soot groups, which accordingly helped to reveal major contributing sources. Specifically, the high K-biomass and OM-biomass mass group in the dry season indicated the important contribution from biomass burning. The regional transport from surrounding territories to the site was investigated using 5-day HYSPLIT backward trajectories. The differences in PM mass and compositional species that were statistically significant between the seasons for similar trajectory patterns, or between patterns within a season, suggested the effects of seasons and/or air mass trajectory pathways on PM pollution. The northeast continental type of air masses observed in the dry season, with the longest continental pathway and continental origin, was associated with the highest levels of PM mass and compositional species.

Keywords: PM2.5; BC; Regional transport; Contributing sources; Mountainous site; Northern Vietnam

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