Dominant contribution of oxygenated organic aerosol to haze particles from real-time observation in Singapore during an Indonesian wildfire event in 2015

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Volume 18, Issue 22, p.16481-16498 (2018)


Recurring transboundary haze from Indonesian wildfires in previous decades significantly elevated particulate matter (PM) concentrations in Southeast Asia. During that event on 10 to 31 October 2015, we conducted a realtime observation of non-refractory submicron PM (NR-PM1) in Singapore using an Aerodyne aerosol mass spectrometer. Simultaneously, we characterized carbonaceous components and organic aerosol (OA) tracers from fine PM (PM2.5) samples to support source apportionment of the online measurements. The real-time analysis demonstrated that OA accounted for approximately 80 % of NR-PM1 mass during the wildfire haze period. Source apportionment analysis applied to the OA mass spectra using the multilinear-engine (ME-2) approach resulted in four factors: hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), biomass burning OA (BBOA), peat burning OA (PBOA), and oxygenated OA (OOA). The OOA can be considered as a surrogate of both secondary organic aerosol (SOA) and oxidized primary organic aerosol (OPOA), while the other factors are considered as surrogates of primary organic aerosol (POA). The OOA accounted for approximately 50 % of the total OA mass in NR-PM1, while POA subtypes from wildfires (BBOA and PBOA) contributed to approximately 30 % of the total OA mass. Our findings highlight the importance of atmospheric chemical processes, which likely include POA oxidation and SOA formation from oxidation of gaseous precursors, to the OOA concentration. As this research could not separately quantify the POA oxidation and SOA formation processes, further studies should attempt to investigate the contribution of gaseous precursor oxidation and POA aging to the OOA formation in wildfire plumes.