Arpit Malik1,2, Shankar G. Aggarwal This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.1,2, Sho Ohata3,4, Tatsuhiro Mori5,6, Yutaka Kondo7, Puna Ram Sinha8, Prashant Patel1,2, Baban Kumar1,2, Khem Singh1, Daya Soni1,2, Makoto Koike6 

1 CSIR-National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, India
2 Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (AcSIR), Ghaziabad, India
3 Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
4 Institute for Advanced Research, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan
5 Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, Yokohama, Japan
6 Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
7 National Institute of Polar Research, Tokyo, Japan
8 Department of Earth and Space Sciences, Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, India

Received: March 27, 2022
Revised: May 12, 2022
Accepted: May 23, 2022

 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.

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Cite this article:

Malik, A., ggarwal, S.G., Ohata, A., Mori, T., Kondo, Y., Sinha, P.R., Patel, P., Kumar, B., Singh, K., Soni, D., Koike, M. (2022). Measurement of Black Carbon in Delhi: Evidences of Regional Transport, Meteorology and Local Sources for Pollution Episodes. Aerosol Air Qual. Res.


  • Year-round BC concentration measured in Delhi by COSMOS.
  • Data coherency was compared with nearby site BC and MERRA-2 SBC data.
  • Unique data set covering impact of several pollution events on BC concentration.
  • Crop residue burnings play major role in elevation of BC concentration in post-monsoon.
  • Local emissions and meteorology of Delhi are the important factors for high BC in winter.


Measurement of particulate matter (PM) constituent such as black carbon (BC) over urban sites is critically important owing to its adverse health and climate impacts. However, the impacts associated with BC are poorly understood primarily because of the scarcity and uncertainties of measurements of BC. Here, we present BC measurement at an urban site of Delhi using a characterized continuous soot monitoring system (COSMOS) for a year-long period, i.e., from September, 2019 to August, 2020. This measurement period covers events, i.e. period of crop residue burnings from nearby states, festive events, e.g., Diwali and New Year, and first COVID-19 lockdown period. Effects of these events combining with local emissions and meteorological conditions on BC mass concentration (MBC) are investigated to find the possible cause of severe pollution levels in Delhi. Mean MBC for the complete observation period was found to be 5.02 ± 4.40 µg m-3. MBC showed significant seasonal as well diurnal variations. Winter season (December to February) is observed to be the most polluted season owing to increased local emissions and non-favourable meteorological conditions. Regional emission from crop burning in nearby states during October and November is the main contributing factor for increased pollution in this post-monsoon season. Furthermore, analysis reveals that cracker burning during festivals can also be considered as contributing factor to high MBC for a short period in post-monsoon and winter seasons. Significant decrease in MBC due to COVID-19 lockdown is also observed. MBC in summer and monsoon are lower as compared to other seasons but are still higher than mean MBC levels in several other urban cities of different countries. Also, the BC data obtained from nearby sites and Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications - version 2 (MERRA-2)’s surface black carbon (SBC) are compared against the MBC to evaluate coherency among the different datasets, and discussed in detail.

Keywords: Black carbon, Delhi air pollution, Meteorology, Local emissions and regional transport, MERRA-2’s surface black carbon

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