Stable isotopes of lead and strontium as tracers of sources of airborne particulate matter in Kyrgyzstan

Nitika Dewan, Brian J. Majestic, Michael E Ketterer, Justin P. Miller-Schulze, Martin M. Shafer, James J. Schauer, Paul A. Solomon, Maria Artamonova, Boris B. Chen, Sanjar A. Imashev, Greg R. Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Central Asia is dominated by an arid climate and desert-like conditions, leading to the potential for long-range transport of desert dust within and out of the region. Of particular interest is the Aral Sea, which has receded in size largely due to water diversion. As a result, newly exposed sediments are resuspended by wind and thus, may be a potential new source of particulate matter within the region. Here, strontium and lead stable isotope ratios are employed along with detailed elemental composition, to explore the contribution of long-range transport of Aral Sea sediments, as well as other potential sources of dust, within Central Asia. Ambient PM<inf>10</inf> samples were collected during dust and non-dust events from mid-2008 to mid-2009 at two sites in Kyrgyzstan located ~1200 and 1500 km ESE of the Aral Sea. Aral Sea sediments and local Kyrgyzstan soils were resuspended and sized to PM<inf>10</inf>. The Aral Sea sediments have an average <sup>87</sup>Sr/<sup>86</sup>Sr ratio of 0.70992. In contrast, the Sr isotope ratio in local soils exhibits an average ratio of 0.71579. Ambient PM<inf>10</inf> collected in Kyrgyzstan has an average <sup>87</sup>Sr/<sup>86</sup>Sr ratio of 0.71177, falling between the values of these two potential sources and indicating a complex mixture of contributing sources. At both sites, airborne Sr isotope ratios measured during dust events were similar, suggesting that Aral Sea sediments only minimally affect air quality in Kyrgyzstan. Elemental analysis and Pb isotope ratios supported this finding. While the Pb isotopes and elemental data both indicate an anthropogenic source, long-range dust transport from other deserts inside and outside the region cannot be ruled out as sources of PM<inf>10</inf> in Central Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14098
Pages (from-to)438-446
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume120
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Aral Sea
  • Central Asia
  • Dust
  • Lead (Pb) isotopes
  • Long-range transport
  • PM<inf>10</inf>
  • Sediments
  • Soils
  • Strontium (Sr) isotopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)

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    Dewan, N., Majestic, B. J., Ketterer, M. E., Miller-Schulze, J. P., Shafer, M. M., Schauer, J. J., Solomon, P. A., Artamonova, M., Chen, B. B., Imashev, S. A., & Carmichael, G. R. (2015). Stable isotopes of lead and strontium as tracers of sources of airborne particulate matter in Kyrgyzstan. Atmospheric Environment, 120, 438-446. [14098]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.09.017