Seasonal characteristics of ambient volatile organic compounds in Seoul, Korea

Kwangsam Na, Yong Pyo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

166 Scopus citations


The measurements of C2-C9 volatile organic compounds (VOC) were carried out at a site in Seoul, the capital of Korea from August 1998 to July 1999. Air samples were collected for 24h in 6l SUMMA canisters every 6 days. The canister samples were quantitatively analyzed by a GC/FID and GC/MS. The species with the highest mean concentration among the 70 identified was propane (7.8ppb), followed by toluene (6.4ppb) and ethylene (5.9ppb). The high concentration of propane was mainly attributed to the emissions by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage for cooking and heating, and butane fuel for transportation. The general trend of the seasonal variation shows higher concentrations in winter and lower ones in summer. This behavior was mainly caused by the variations of temperature, and resultant VOC source strengths, coupled with the variations of the mixing depth. According to the analysis of concentration ratios, the seasonal contributions of the major emission sources to the VOC concentrations were influenced by ambient temperature. Further, it was identified that the contributions by the use of solvents, natural gas, LPG, and butane fuel were closely related to the variations of consumption pattern according to seasons. Through the analysis of the concentration correlations between less reactive compound and highly reactive ones for summer and winter months, it was found that photochemical reactivity affects relative concentration of reactive compound.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2603-2614
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Korea Institute of Science and Technology. We thank Dr. K.B. Lee and Ms. H.M. Park at KIST for the VOC analysis.


  • Amount used
  • C-C seasonal concentrations
  • Emission sources
  • Photochemical reactivity
  • Temperature


Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal characteristics of ambient volatile organic compounds in Seoul, Korea'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this