Chanakarn Khamkaew1, Somporn Chantara 1,2, Rungruang Janta1, Shantanu Kumar Pani3, Tippawan Prapamontol4, Sawaeng Kawichai4, Wan Wiriya1,2, Neng-Huei Lin1,3

  • 1 Environmental Science Program, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
  • 2 Environmental Chemistry Research Laboratory, Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand
  • 3 Department of Atmospheric Science, National Central University, Chung-Li 32001, Taiwan
  • 4 Environment and Health Research Unit, Research Institute for Health Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Received: March 4, 2016
Revised: August 30, 2016
Accepted: August 31, 2016
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Cite this article:
Khamkaew, C., Chantara, S., Janta, R., Pani, S.K., Prapamontol, T., Kawichai, S., Wiriya, W. and Lin, N.H. (2016). Investigation of Biomass Burning Chemical Components over Northern Southeast Asia during 7-SEAS/BASELInE 2014 Campaign. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 16: 2655-2670.


  • PM2.5 concentrations of near- and far- BB source locations were well correlated.
  • Levoglucosan, elemental and ion composition of PM2.5 aerosols were analyzed.
  • SO42–, NO3, Na+, K, Al and Mg were major ions and elements bounded with PM2.5.
  • Biomass burning was major source of ambient PM2.5 during smoke haze episode.
  • Major air masses approaching to both sampling sites came from southwest direction.



This study investigates the chemical components of biomass burning (BB) aerosols obtained from Doi Ang Khang (DAK; near BB source) and Chiang Mai University (CMU; an urban location) over northern Southeast Asia in dry season (March to mid-April) 2014. PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than or equal to 2.5 µm) samples were collected over a 24-h sampling period as a part of the Seven South East Asian Studies (7-SEAS)/BASELInE (BB Aerosols & Stratocumulus Environment: Lifecycles & Interactions Experiment) campaign. The collected aerosols were analyzed for mass concentrations of ions, metals and levoglucosan. The influence of air mass movements on aerosol species was also analyzed. The average PM2.5 mass concentrations at DAK (80.8–83.3 µg m–3) and CMU (90.7–93.1 µg m–3) were not significantly different (p > 0.05) and well correlated (r = 0.8), and likely originated from similar source origins. The number of fire hotspots was particularly high during 20–21 March (greater than 200) and, consequently, peaks of PM2.5 were recorded at both sites. The most abundant elements at both sampling sites were K (49–50% of total elements), Al (26–31%), Mg (16%) and Zn (4–7%), whereas SO42– (30–38% of total ions), NO3 (13–20%), Na+ (16–20%) and NH4+ (14–15%) were the most abundant ions. Concentrations of levoglucosan and K+ (BB tracers) were well correlated (r = 0.5 for CMU and 0.7 for DAK) confirming that the PM2.5 detected in these areas were mainly influenced by BB activity. Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that BB, road traffic, agricultural activity and soil re-suspension were plausible sources of PM2.5 over the study locations. Apart from local sources, the influence of long-range transport was also investigated by way of three-day backward trajectory analysis.

Keywords: PM2.5; Biomass burning; Chemical composition; Air pollution; Aerosol

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