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The spatial distribution and potential sources of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) over the Asian marginal seas and the Indian and Atlantic Oceans

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • Yue Xu
  • Yan-Lin Zhang
  • Jun Li
  • Rosalinda Gioia
  • Gan Zhang
  • Xiang-Dong Li
  • Baruch Spiro
  • Ravinder S. Bhatia
  • Kevin C. Jones
Article numberD07302
Journal publication date4/04/2012
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Number of pages10
Original languageEnglish


Gaseous and particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were analyzed in air samples taken on a voyage of the Scholar Ship from January 16th to March 14th, 2008. Samples were taken from the Asian marginal seas and the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, providing an opportunity to assess spatial trends and potential sources of atmospheric PAHs over those oceans. The results show that continental sources were still responsible for some high concentrations of PAHs measured over the oceans. The Σ15PAHs in the gaseous phase were elevated on the approach to China and India, while the highest Σ15PAHs in the particulate phase were found at Chennai Harbor and close to Guinea. The high proportion of fluorene in the gas phase over the East and South China Sea could be a marker of coal and coke related combustion emission from Mainland China. The elevated high-molecular-weight PAHs in particles close to Guinea might be related to biomass burning in Africa. These results are consistent with previous PAH emission inventories and highlight the potential impact of continental PAH sources in China, India and Africa on the adjacent marine atmosphere.