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High concentration of acidic species in rainwater at Varanasi in the Indo-Gangetic plains, India

Bisht, DS and Tiwari, S and Srivastava, AK and Singh, JV and Singh, BP and Srivastava, MK (2015) High concentration of acidic species in rainwater at Varanasi in the Indo-Gangetic plains, India. Natural Hazards, 75 (3). pp. 2985-3003.

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Abstract

The Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP), straddling the northeastern parts of India near the foothills of the Himalayas, are one of the most densely populated and polluted regions on the globe, with consequent large anthropogenic emissions. In particular, the use of traditional biofuels in the rural areas along the plains leads to strong emissions of various pollutants. Due to this importance, a comprehensive study on the chemical characteristics of rainwater was carried out during southwest summer monsoon season of 2009 at two different locations over Varanasi, India, located in the middle of IGP region in the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh. The rainwater samples were analyzed for major chemical constituents along with pH and its electric conductivity. The pH values ranged from 5.18 to 7.08 with a mean of 5.82 ± 0.45 suggest the alkaline nature of rainwater over Varanasi. During the study period, ~14 % rainwater samples were found to be acidic when the winds blew from south–southeast direction. The weighted mean pH and electric conductivity were found higher (5.92 ± 0.45) and (24.59 µS/cm) at Maldahiya site than Banaras Hindu University (5.89 ± 0.46) and (17.16 µS/cm) due to dominance of soil-derived particles. The equivalent concentration of ionic species is of the order: Ca2+ > SO42− > NO3− > Cl− > Mg2+ > Na+ > HCO3− > NH4+ > K+ > F− > H+. The weighted mean concentration of dominant ions in rainwater over Varanasi was Ca2+ (67.1 ± 56 µeq/l), SO42− (37 ± 23 µeq/l) and NO3− (27.1 ± 28 µeq/l). Significant correlation (r = 0.81; P < 0.001) between the sum of major cations (NH4+ + Ca2+ + Mg2+) and the sum of acidic species (SO42− + NO3−) corroborates that these alkaline species may act as a neutralizing agent for the acidity of rainwater. The source contribution of SO42− in rainwater was estimated and was ~95 % by man-made activities, which is mainly derived from burning of fossil/biofuels over this region. The source of nitrate (11 %) emissions was mainly from automobiles and biomass burning. Statistical analysis such as principle component analysis was performed to find out possible sources of measured ions. First factor accounted for ~54 % variance suggested that most of the ions were from natural sources especially soil dust and sea; however, factor 2 accounted only for ~12 % variance suggests their sources from burning of fossil fuel and biomass. The third factor also indicates the mixed sources into the atmosphere.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright of this article belongs to Springer International Publishing
Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology
Depositing User: IITM Library
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2019 08:50
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2019 08:50
URI: http://moeseprints.incois.gov.in/id/eprint/4088

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