Morphological and chemical classification of fine particles over the Yellow Sea during spring, 2015–2018

Nohhyeon Kwak, Haebum Lee, Hyunok Maeng, Arom Seo, Kwangyul Lee, Seojeong Kim, Meehye Lee, Joo Wan Cha, Beomcheol Shin, Kihong Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Airborne fine particles can affect climate change and human health; moreover, they can be transported over significant distances. However, studies on characteristics of individual particles and their morphology, elemental composition, aging processes, and spatial distribution after long-range transport over the Yellow Sea are limited. Therefore, in this study, we conducted shipborne measurements of fine particulate matter of less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5) over the Yellow Sea and classified the individual particles into seven types based on their morphology and composition. Overall, the percentage of organic-rich particles was the highest, followed by that of sea spray, sulfur-rich, dust, metals, fly ash, soot, and other particles. Near Shandong, China, the percentage of fly ash and sulfur-rich particles increased, while an increased percentage of only sulfur-rich particles was observed near the Korean Peninsula. In the open sea, the PM2.5 concentrations were the lowest, and sea spray particles predominated. During the cruises, three types (Types 1, 2, and 3) of events with substantially increased PM2.5 concentrations occurred, each with different dominant particles. Type 1 events frequently featured air masses from northern China and Mongolia with high wind speeds and increased dust particles. Type 2 events involved air masses from China with high wind speeds; fly ash, soot, organic-rich particles, and the sulfate percentage in PM2.5 increased. Type 3 events displayed stagnant conditions and local transport (from Korea); soot, dust particles, and the secondary sulfate and nitrate percentages in PM2.5 increased. Thus, different types of transport affected concentrations and dominant types of fine particles over the Yellow Sea during spring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119286
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant from the Korean Government (MSIT; the Ministry of Science and ICT) ( NRF-2017M3D8A1092220 , NRF-2019M1A2A2103956 , NRF-2019R1A2C3007202 , and NRF-2021M1A5A1065667) and by the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) Research and Development Program (Title: “Development of Application Technology on Atmospheric Research Aircraft”) ( KMA2018-00222 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Air masses
  • Elemental composition
  • Fine particulate matter
  • Morphology
  • Shipborne measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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