Water-soluble ionic composition of aerosols at urban location in the foothills of Himalaya, Pokhara Valley, Nepal

Lekhendra Tripathee, Shichang Kang, Dipesh Rupakheti, Qianggong Zhang, Jie Huang, Mika Sillanpää

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35 Citations (Scopus)


The total suspended particulate (TSP) samples were collected from April 2013 to April 2014 at the urban location of Pokhara valley in western Nepal. The major aims were to study, quantify, and understand the concentrations and variations of TSP and major water-soluble inorganic ions (WSIIs) in the valley with limited data. The annual average TSP mass concentration was 135.50 ± 62.91 μg/m3. The average analyzed total WSIIs accounted for 14.4% of total TSP mass. Major anions and cations in TSP samples were SO42- and Ca2+, respectively. Seasonal differences in atmospheric conditions explain the clear seasonal variations of ions, with higher concentrations during pre-monsoon and winter and lower concentrations during the monsoon period. Neutralization factor calculations suggested that Ca2+ in the Pokhara valley mostly neutralizes the acidity in the atmosphere. Principle component analysis, NO3-/SO42- ratio, and non-sea salt fraction calculations suggested that the WSIIs in the valley were mostly derived from anthropogenic activities and crustal mineral dust, which was also supported by the results from precipitation chemistry over the central Himalayas, Nepal. In addition, back trajectories analysis has suggested that the air pollution transported from and through Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) during the dry periods, which has resulted in high ionic loadings during this period. Average NO3-/SO42- ratio was found to be 0.69, indicating the dominance of stationary sources of TSP in Pokhara valley. Secondary inorganic aerosols can have an adverse health impact on the human population in the valley. The data set from this one-year study provides new insights into the composition of WSIIs in the foothills of the Himalayas, which can be of great importance for understanding the atmospheric environment in the region.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthropogenic aerosols
  • Monsoon
  • Nepal
  • Source
  • TSP
  • Water-soluble inorganic ions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science


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