Measurement report: Source characteristics of water-soluble organic carbon in PM2.5 at two sites in Japan, as assessed by long-term observation and stable carbon isotope ratio
The sources and seasonal trends of water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) in carbonaceous aerosols are of significant interest. From July 2017 to July 2019, we collected samples of PM2.5 (particulate matter, aerodynamic diameter<2.5 µm) from one suburban and one rural site in Japan. The average δ13CWSOC was -25.2±1.1 ‰ and -24.6±2.4 ‰ at the suburban site and rural site, respectively. At the suburban site, the δ13CWSOC was consistent with the δ13C of burned C3 plants, and a high correlation was found between WSOC concentrations and non-sea-salt potassium concentrations; these results suggest that the main source of WSOC at this site was biomass burning of rice straw. At the rural site, the average δ13CWSOC was significantly heavier from autumn to spring (-23.9±2.1 ‰) than in summer (-27.4±0.7 ‰) (p<0.01). The δ13CWSOC from autumn to spring was consistent with that of biomass burning of rice straw, whereas that in summer was considered to reflect mainly the formation of secondary organic aerosols from biogenic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The heaviest δ13CWSOC (-21.3±1.9 ‰) was observed from February to April 2019, which may be explained by long-range transport of C4 plant burning such as corn from overseas. Thus, the present study indicates that δ13CWSOC is potentially useful for elucidating the sources and atmospheric processes that contribute to seasonal variations of WSOC concentration.