Diurnal characteristics of volatile organic compounds in the Seoul atmosphere

Kwangsam Na, Yong Pyo Kim, Kil Choo Moon

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Concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured at a site in central Seoul from 8 to 13 September 1998. On each sampling day, three 2-h-integrated canister samples were collected in the morning, afternoon and evening, respectively, to observe diural variations of VOCs. Most of the VOCs species showed diurnal variations with higher concentrations during the morning and evening, and lower concentrations during the afternoon. However, in the afternoon, the concentrations of aromatic compounds, closely correlated with solvent usage such as toluene, ethylbenzene, m-/p-xylene, and o-xylene, were slightly higher than or comparable to those in the morning. This may be due to the increase of evaporative emissions derived from the rise in ambient temperature and additional sources such as the use of solvents in painting, printing and dry cleaning. To estimate the participation of individual VOCs in ozone formation, propylene equivalent concentrations were calculated. The results showed that toluene was the most dominant contributor to ozone formation as well as ambient VOC concentrations. Toluene/benzene and m-/p-xylene/benzene ratios showed a high observed in the afternoon and a low observed in the morning and evening. This may be because the contribution of evaporative emissions by solvent usage on the ambient VOC concentrations is more dominant than those of vehicle-related emissions and photochemical loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-742
Number of pages10
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Research Laboratory Program of Korean Ministry of Science and Technology (2000-N-NL-01-C-184).


  • Diurnal variations
  • Evaporative emission
  • Propylene equivalent concentration
  • Solvent usage
  • VOCs


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