Processing of aerosol particles within the Habshan pollution plume

T. A. Semeniuk, R. Bruintjes, V. Salazar, D. Breed, T. Jensen, P R Buseck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Habshan industrial site in the United Arab Emirates produces a regional-scale pollution plume associated with oil and gas processing, discharging high loadings of sulfates and chlorides into the atmosphere, which interact with the ambient aerosol population. Aerosol particles and trace gas chemistry at this site were studied on two flights in the summer of 2002. Measurements were collected along vertical plume profiles to show changes associated with atmospheric processing of particle and gas components. Close to the outlet stack, particle concentrations were over 10,000 cm-3, dropping to <2000 cm-3 in more dilute plume around 1500m above the stack. Particles collected close to the stack and within the dilute plume were individually measured for size, morphology, composition, and mixing state using transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Close to the stack, most coarse particles consisted of mineral dust and NaCl crystals from burning oil brines, while sulfate droplets dominated the fine mode. In more dilute plume, at least 1500m above the stack, the particle spectrum was more diverse, with a significant increase in internally mixed particle types. Dilute plume samples consisted of coarse NaCl/silicate aggregates or NaCl-rich droplets, often with a sulfate component, while fine-fraction particles were of mixed cation sulfates, also internally mixed with nanospherical soot or silicates. Thus, both chloride and sulfate components of the pollution plume rapidly reacted with ambient mineral dust to form coated and aggregate particles, enhancing particle size, hygroscopicity, and reactivity of the coarse mode. The fine-fraction sulfate-bearing particles formed in the plume contribute to regional transport of sulfates, while coarse sulfate-bearing fractions locally reduced the SO2 loading through sedimentation. The chloride- and sulfate-bearing internally mixed particles formed in the plume markedly changed the reflectivity and scattering properties of the ambient aerosol population, as well as its hygroscopic and ice nucleation properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1996-2012
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of geophysical research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Processing of aerosol particles within the Habshan pollution plume'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this