Semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) in ambient air and rainwater in a tropical environment: Concentrations and temporal and seasonal trends

Jun He, Rajasekhar Balasubramanian

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The levels of a range of SVOCs (PAHs, OCPs, and PCBs) in atmospheric particulate and gaseous phases and rainwater samples were studied in Singapore from June 2007 to May 2008. Yearly average concentrations of PAHs, OCPs and PCBs in air (particle + gas) were 136.5 ng m-3, 695.8 pg m-3 and 27 pg m-3, respectively while those of PAHs and OCPs in rainwater (particulate + dissolved) were 1218.1 and 114.2 ng L-1, respectively. The lower molecular weight (LMW) PAHs were more abundant than those higher molecular weight (HMW) PAHs in rainwater. Among OCPs, HCHs were found in rainwater in relatively larger amounts than DDTs. Similar distributions patterns were also found in air samples. Statistical correlation analysis indicated that the atmospheric occurrence of SVOCs had positive correlation with ambient temperature except for particulate PAHs and negative correlations with relative humidity and wind speed; incoming solar radiation (SR) was negatively associated with PAHs, but there was almost no correlation between SR and the occurrence of OCPs and PCBs. ANOVA analysis revealed that the temporal variations were statistically significant for PAHs and PCBs in air samples and for OCPs in rainwater. In addition, local traffic emissions, trans-boundary transport of pesticides from regional sources and Aroclors 1248 and 1254 were identified as probable sources for PAHs, OCPs and PCBs in the atmosphere, respectively, based on molecular diagnostic ratios and principal component analysis (PCA) together with the assistance of air mass backward trajectories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)742-751
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Atmosphere
  • Organochlorine pesticides
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Precipitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry (all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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