In May 2003, high concentrations of organic carbon (OC) in PM2.5 were measured in Nagoya, a representative metropolitan area in Japan. To investigate the influence of possible forest fires on PM2.5 in Japan via long-range aerosol transport, the radiocarbon ((14)C) concentrations of PM2.5 samples from April 2003 to March 2004 were measured. (14)C concentrations in total carbon (TC) from May to early June showed higher values than those in other periods. The OC/elemental carbon (EC) ratios from May to early June were also significantly higher than the ones in other periods. In addition, OC concentrations from May to early June were typically high. These results indicate that the abundant OC fraction from May to early June in Nagoya consisted predominantly of contemporary carbon. Furthermore, simulations of diffusion and transport of organic matter (OM) in East Asia showed that abundant OM originating from East Siberia spread over East Asia and Japan in May and early June. Backward air mass trajectories from this time frame indicate that the air mass in Nagoya likely first passed through East Siberia where fire events were prevalent. However, the backward trajectories showed that the air mass after early June did not originate mainly from Siberia, and correspondingly, the (14)C and OC concentrations showed lower values than those from May to early June. Therefore, the authors conclude that contemporary carbon originating from the forest fire in East Siberia was transported to Nagoya, where it significantly contributed to the high observed concentrations of both OC and (14)C.
The black carbon or elemental carbon (EC) content in ice and snow has been a concern in climate change studies, but time-series records have mostly been obtained from glacier ice-core samples in limited geographical locations, such as the Arctic or high mountains. This is the first study to present decade-long records of EC deposition measured at urban (Sapporo) and background (Rishiri Island) sites in Japan, in the mid-latitude zone of the eastern edge of the Asian continent. By using archived membrane filters from an acid rain study, we retrieved monthly EC deposition records of 1993-2012 in Sapporo and intermittent deposition data in Rishiri. Annual EC deposition showed large fluctuations, with a maximum in 2000-2001 and a minor increase in 2010-2011. This interannual change was moderately related to the deposition of non-sea salt SO42- and the collected water volume but did not reflect the estimated emission history of China. High depositions in 2000-2001 were probably caused by the transport of Asian Dust accompanied by air pollutants, which were characteristically active in these years. The findings of this study have implications for the use of observational data in validating global aerosol transport models.