Felipe Reyes1, Sofia Ahumada1, Francisca Rojas1, Pedro Oyola1, Yeanice Vásquez1, Claudio Aguilera1, A.R. Henriquez1, Ernesto Gramsch4, Choong Min Kang5, Sanna Saarikoski2, Kimmo Teinilä2, Minna Aurela2, Hilkka Timonen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2,3

1 Centro Mario Molina Chile, Santiago, Chile
2 Atmospheric Composition Research, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
3 Aerosol Physics Laboratory, Physics Unit, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
4 Physics Department, Universidad de Santiago de Chile, Santiago, Chile
5 Harvard T.H. Chang School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received: May 14, 2021
Revised: August 31, 2021
Accepted: September 5, 2021

 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.210110  

Cite this article:

Reyes, F., Ahumada, S., Rojas, F., Oyola, P., Vásquez, Y., Aguilera, C., Henriquez, A.R., Gramsch, E., Kang, C.M., Saarikoski, S., Teinilä, K., Aurela, M., Timonen, H. (2021). Impact of Biomass Burning on Air Quality in Temuco City, Chile. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.210110


  • High PM1 concentrations (up to 700 µg m3) were observed in winter nights in Temuco.
  • High pollution episodes were caused by biomass combustion combined with poor mixing.
  • submicron PM consisted of organics (87%) followed by inorganic ions (10–30%) and BC (5%).
  • High PM, levoglucosan, potassium, chloride concentrations were observed at winter evenings.


Residential wood burning emits a complex mixture of particulate and gaseous compounds. In this article we show an in-depth chemical characterization of particulate matter evidencing the impact of biomass burning on the urban air quality in Grand Temuco, the capital city of the Araucanía Region, Chile. The measurements were carried out at two sites, Las Encinas and Padre Las Casas, in spring and winter. Extremely high fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations (up to 700 µg m-3) were frequently observed at both stations in the wintertime, while in spring, PM2.5 concentrations were significantly lower (campaign-average 6.4 and 8.6 µg m-3 in Las Encinas and Padre Las Casas, respectively). Chemical composition of submicron PM was dominated by organics (average 87%) followed by inorganic ions (10–30%) and a minor contribution of black carbon (< 5%). In the wintertime, atmospheric levels of biomass burning tracers, such as levoglucosan, potassium and chloride, were elevated and their diurnal profiles showed a significant concentration increase in the evening. Diurnal profiles combined with the in-depth chemical analysis clearly indicated that in the wintertime local biomass burning was the main source of air pollutants in the region. Furthermore, in winter, most of the high concentration events correlated with the periods with high surface pressure, low temperature and low wind speed. These events matched with higher temperatures at high altitude than at the surface characterizing the typical profile of a vertical inversion that prevents the dilution of air pollutants.

Keywords: Particulate matter, Residential biomass burning, Chemical composition, Elemental composition

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