Source apportionment of organic pollutants in fine and coarse atmospheric particles in Doha, Qatar. Academic Article uri icon


  • In this study, we investigated the sources of organic pollutants associated with fine (PM2.5) and coarse (PM2.5-10) atmospheric particulate matter in Doha, Qatar based on an eight-month sampling campaign conducted from May to December 2015. Multiple organic compound tracers including 36 PAH members, 25n-alkane homologs, 17 hopanes, and 12 steranes were used for organic aerosols source apportionment. Source apportionment based on specific molecular markers, molecular diagnostic ratios/indices, and positive matrix factorization (PMF) modeling showed that similar sources are responsible for both fine- and coarse-particle organic pollutants. PMF analysis showed that biogenic aerosols, fugitive dust emissions, gasoline engine emissions, diesel engine emissions, and heavy oil combustion were the five main pollution sources of organic aerosols, which agreed well with the results from the diagnostic ratios analysis. The conditional bivariate probability functions (CPF) and potential source contribution function (PSCF) indicated that both regional (i.e., mixed biogenic/secondary particles and oil refinery/shipping emissions) and local sources contributed to airborne organic aerosol concentrations observed at the site, depending on the wind speed and direction. It appears that the relatively high levels of organic pollutants were contributed by local anthropogenic sources, such as fossil fuel combustion, vehicular emissions, and fugitive dust emissions. The high levels of local contributions indicated that there might be great opportunities for Qatar to considerably reduce emissions so that population exposures to carbonaceous aerosols and the public health risks associated with air pollution can be minimized. Implications: Multiple organic tracers and various source apportionment techniques have been used for convincing source apportionment. It was found that both long-range and local sources have a significant impact on atmospheric carbonaceous particles in the area, depending on the wind conditions. Relatively high levels of organic pollutants attributed to local anthropogenic sources indicate that there are great opportunities for Qatar to establish and implement more efficient pollution control measures and policies. Regional sources such as petroleum refineries and shipping-vessels emissions in the Gulf region should also be regulated and managed through regional cooperation to improve the air quality in the region.

published proceedings

  • J Air Waste Manag Assoc

author list (cited authors)

  • Javed, W., Iakovides, M., Garaga, R., Stephanou, E. G., Kota, S. H., Ying, Q. i., ... Guo, B.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Javed, Wasim||Iakovides, Minas||Garaga, Rajyalakshmi||Stephanou, Euripides G||Kota, Sri Harsha||Ying, Qi||Wolfson, Jack M||Koutrakis, Petros||Guo, Bing

publication date

  • November 2019