Deposition and light absorption characteristics of precipitation dissolved organic carbon (DOC) at three remote stations in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau, China

Chaoliu Li, Fangping Yan, Shichang Kang, Pengfei Chen, Zhaofu Hu, Xiaowen Han, Guoshuai Zhang, Shaopeng Gao, Bin Qu, Mika Sillanpää

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The concentrations, depositions and optical properties of precipitation DOC at three remote stations (Nam Co, Lulang and Everest) were investigated in the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau (HTP). The results showed that their volume-weighted mean DOC concentrations were 1.05 ± 1.01 mg C L− 1, 0.83 ± 0.85 mg C L− 1 and 0.86 ± 0.91 mg C L− 1, respectively, close to those of other remote areas in the world and lower than those of typical polluted urban cities. Combined with precipitation amounts, the DOC depositions at these three stations were calculated to be 0.34 ± 0.32 g C m− 2 yr− 1, 0.84 ± 0.86 g C m− 2 yr− 1 and 0.16 ± 0.17 g C m− 2 yr− 1, respectively. The annual DOC deposition in the HTP was approximately 0.94 ± 0.87 Tg C, the highest and lowest values appeared in the southeastern and northwestern plateau, respectively. The sources of DOC in the precipitation at these three stations were remarkably different, indicating large spatial heterogeneity in the sources of precipitation DOC over the HTP. Nam Co presented combustion sources from South Asia and local residents, Lulang showed biomass combustion source from South Asia, and Everest was mainly influenced by local mineral dust. The values of the MACDOC at 365 nm were 0.48 ± 0.47 m2 g− 1, 0.25 ± 0.15 m2 g− 1, and 0.64 ± 0.49 m2 g− 1, respectively, for the precipitation at the three stations. All of these values were significantly lower than those of corresponding near-surface aerosol samples because precipitation DOC contains more secondary organic aerosol with low light absorption abilities. Additionally, this phenomenon was also observed in seriously polluted urban areas, implying it is universal in the atmosphere. Because precipitation DOC contains information for both particle-bound and gaseous components from the near surface up to the altitude of clouds where precipitation occurs, the MACDOC of precipitation is more representative than that of near-surface aerosols for a given region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1039-1046
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Deposition
  • Dissolved organic carbon
  • Light absorption
  • The Third Pole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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