Gaseous and particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons at the Gosan background site in East Asia

J. Y. Kim, J. Y. Lee, S. D. Choi, Y. P. Kim, Y. S. Ghim

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The seasonal intensive field measurements of gaseous and particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were carried out at the Gosan international background site from November 2001 to August 2003. The annual average concentrations of gaseous and particulate PAHs are 1.4ngm -3 and 2.9ngm -3 (∑ 14PAH), respectively. Distinct seasonal variations exist with the highest concentration in winter and the lowest concentration in summer. In comparison with other places in Korea and other countries, the most distinguishing features at Gosan are the significantly low concentrations of low-molecular weight gaseous PAHs. In addition, noticeably high particulate PAH concentrations measured at urban and background areas in Korea could represent the regional characteristics of East Asia under the influence of high emission from China. The BaP equivalent concentrations (BaP eq) at Gosan, which are based on the US EPA's toxicity equivalency factors for carcinogenic PAHs, are much higher than those at coastal or background sites in USA and Europe, and even comparable with that at urban sites in Europe. The possibility of more aged PAHs in the atmosphere associated with the long range transport of PAHs during winter period was suggested. It was found that larger fraction of non-exchangeable PAHs had strong influence to the gas/particle partitioning of PAHs at Gosan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-319
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology , the Korea Ministry of Environment as an Eco-technopia 21 project under grant 2001-44001-8 , and the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies Research Fund . It was also supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. 2010-0001898 and No. 2011-0028597). Finally, we thank an anonymous reviewer for detailed and constructive comments that greatly improved the manuscript.


  • Background concentrations
  • Long-range transport
  • Seasonal variation
  • Toxicity


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