Headline: Black Carbon in Surface Soil and Its Sources in Three Central Asian Countries

Black carbon (BC) aerosol impacts the air quality, public health, agricultural productivity, weather, monsoon, cryosphere, and climate system from the local to the global scale. However, its distribution over vast Central Asia is poorly known, because it is one of the poorly sampled regions of the world. BC in the soil can be resuspended into the atmosphere and transported to downwind regions with sensitive ecosystems and vulnerable populations, such as from Central Asian countries to the cryospheric regions in the Tianshan Mountain and the Tibetan Plateau, which could accelerate the melting of the snowfields and glaciers. We report the distribution of BC and total organic carbon (TOC) in surface soil with samples collected at multiple sites, for the first time, over three countries in Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan). The mean BC (TOC) concentrations over three countries were 0.06 ± 0.06 (11.86 ± 4.84) mg g−1, 0.15 ± 0.21 (20.35 ± 10.96) mg g−1, and 0.32 ± 0.29 (26.45 ± 20.38) mg g−1, respectively. They were found to be originated from the same or similar sources, at least over Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as indicated by their high and significant correlation (R2 > 0.6, p < 0.001). The char/soot ratio indicated the diesel and gasoline combustion as dominant BC sources over this region. To gain further insights into the soil BC and its implications to air quality, climate, and cryosphere, future studies should include a wider area over Central Asia with different land-use types and other soil parameters combined with atmospheric simulations for this important yet relatively less studied region of the world.

Publication Year
Publication Type
Academic Articles

Rupakheti, D., Kang, S., Rupakheti, M., Chen, P., Gautam, S., Rai, M., Yin, X., & Kang, H. (2021). Black Carbon in Surface Soil and Its Sources in Three Central Asian Countries. Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology, 80(3), 558-566. doi:10.1007/s00244-021-00832-4.

Staff involved
Projects involved
A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)