Sanghee Han1, Ji Yi Lee1, Jongbae Heo This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2, Yong Pyo Kim This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.3


Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea
Department of Environmental Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea


Received: June 22, 2018
Revised: September 22, 2018
Accepted: September 23, 2018

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Cite this article:

Han, S., Lee, J.Y., Heo, J. and Kim, Y.P. (2019). Temporal Trend of the Major Contributors for the Particulate Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Seoul. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 318-330.


  • PMF model was applied to verify the sources of ambient PAHs at Seoul.
  • Long-term trends of the sources (12 years) were verified with five factors.
  • Effectiveness of air quality polices in Korea and China was verified.
  • Uncertainties occurred from model and emission factors were also discussed.


To evaluate the effectiveness of the air quality management policies in Northeast Asia, especially in China and South Korea, temporal variation in the major contributors of the observed particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Seoul between 2002 and 2013 was estimated via receptor modeling. In addition, analyses of the air parcel movement and the statistics related to energy usage and PAH emissions in the region were conducted to validate the modeling results. Five factors were identified: coal usage for coke ovens, residential coal use, vehicular emission, biomass burning, and other emission sources. It was found that the PAH concentration in the ambient air in Seoul has been affected not only by domestic emissions but also by transported PAHs originating outside Korea, such as emissions from coal use in China and biomass burning in Northeast Asia. In addition, the impact from North Korea was verified for the PAHs emitted from biomass burning. The contribution of coal combustion decreased while that of vehicular sources increased during the study period; the contribution from biomass burning, however, remained consistent. Despite uncertainties in the modeling results, which are discussed in this paper, this study demonstrates that the air quality management policies in China and South Korea have been successful in reducing particulate PAH emissions.

Keywords: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH); Positive matrix factorization (PMF); Major contributor; Northeast Asia; Emission trends; Air quality management policy.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19 :318 -330 .  

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