Taehyun Park1, Yongjoo Choi1, Jinsoo Choi2, Junyoung Ahn3, Jinsoo Park2, Yonghwan Lee1, Jihee Ban1, Gyutae Park1, Seokwon Kang1, Kyunghoon Kim1, Beom-Keun Seo4, Jongho Kim4, Soobog Park5, Hyunjae Kim2, HaEun Jeon2, Taehyoung Lee This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1

1 Department of Environmental Science, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Gyeonggi 17035, Korea
2 Climate and Air Quality Research Department, National Institute of Environmental Research, Incheon 22689, Korea
3 Air Quality Forecasting Center, National Institute of Environmental Research, Incheon 22689, Korea
4 Department of Environmental Engineering, Hanseo University, Chungcheognam 31962, Korea
5 Department of Flight Operations, Hanseo University, Chungcheognam 31962, Korea
Now at Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Yokohama, Japan


Received: January 15, 2020
Revised: May 22, 2020
Accepted: May 25, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0649  

Cite this article:

Park, T., Choi, Y., Choi, Y., Ahn, J., Park, J., Lee, Y., Ban, J., Park, G., Kang, S., Kim, K., Seo, B.K., Kim, J., Park, S., Kim, H., Jeon, H.E. and Lee. T. (2020). Aircraft Measurements of Physicochemical Evolution of Atmospheric Aerosols in Air Pollution Plumes over a Megacity and Suburban Areas. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0649


  • Particle data from 7 flights were used to investigate 3D physicochemical processing.
  • Composition, oxidation, and size were explored near Seoul and in industrial plumes.
  • Organic aerosol was somewhat more oxidized downwind of Seoul and industrial sources.
  • Aerosol sources, sizes, and organic oxidation varied greatly with altitude.
  • These data can be used to more accurately predict and control air quality.


As part of the Megacity Air Pollution Studies (MAPS)-Seoul campaign, three types of research flights were conducted over the Seoul Metropolitan Area (SMA) from May till June 2015 to measure the spatial distribution of a pollution plume near a power plant and petrochemical complex, the vertical profiles of pollutants on the western coast of Korea, and the pollutant distribution in the SMA. The pollution plume (~0–700 m) was highly concentrated and dominated by organic aerosol (OA), which very likely oxidized in the plume, as it showed slightly less oxidation near the source and significantly less oxidation at altitudes above the plume. One vertical profile displayed transitions in concentration and changes in the dominant components, suggesting that the particle sources and/or processing differed above ~1000 m; below 1000 m, where the total mass and OA concentrations were high, sulfate and likely transport sources predominated. The other profile, which was assessed during a separate flight, exhibited sharp increases in the OA number concentration and mean diameter, less oxidized organic content, and higher organic and nitrate concentrations above 1400 m, indicating high-altitude transport and a cleaner boundary layer. Finally, flights investigating the distributions of pollutants in the central, upwind, and downwind SMA regions generally detected high levels of oxidation downwind as well as different aerosol masses between the low and high altitudes. This study highlights the necessity of understanding the complex vertical structures of particle layers, such as those identified in and around the SMA, in order to facilitate the adoption of efficient air quality control strategies and enhance air quality forecasting.

Keywords: Air pollution plume; Aircraft observations; Aerosol aging; Photochemical processing; Spatial distribution.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20 :-. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.12.0649  

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