Sayan Sun Observatory (at Mondy village) as a base station for studying admixture transport in the lower layers of the atmosphere in Central Asia

Limnological Institute, SB RAS, Irkutsk

Head of the Institute:

Mikhail A.Grachev, Corresponding Member of RAS, Professor
P.O. Box 4199, Irkutsk-33, 664033, Russia
Tel.: (3952) 460504
Fax: (3952) 460405

Principal researchers:

Head of the Laboratory of Hydrochemistry and Chemistry of the Atmosphere
V.A.Obolkin, PhD, senior researcher
V.L.Poternkin, PhD, senior researcher

Project objectives

Studies of peculiar composition patterns of atmospheric admixtures and precipitation in background continental areas of central Asia, and estimation of potential acidification of soil, vegetation, and waterbodies in the region under study.

Background and significance of objectives

The tenn "background areas" (remote sites) is now commonly used to denote the purest areas of the globe, atmospheric admixture and precipitation composition there are "conditionally" considered the natural background, relative to which the extent of pollution in other more anthropogenically affected territories may be measured. Present-day world net of background atmosphere-monitoring stations involves 20 stations, none of which is on the Russian territory. The present project proposes organisation of such a station in Russian Central Asia, on the premises of Mondy astronomical station ( 51.6 N, 101.0 E). This station has in the past several years been successfully developing as an international station for examining background characteristics of the atmosphere. It belongs to the Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics SB RAS, and is located at the Russia-Mongolia border, on a Khamar-Daban range peak (2005 m above sea-level). The station is supplied with industrial electricity and has no sources of anthropogenic releases into the atmosphere. The nearest industrial centres - Irkutsk, Baikalsk - are more than 200 km away, and they are not in the way of prevalent atmospheric transportation flows towards the station.

A wide complex of experimental researches concerning chemical composition of atmospheric admixtures and precipitation is being conducted at the station at present using the most up-to-date equipment and chemical analysis techniques (see Appendix 1). Both Russian (Institute of Kinetics and Burning SB RAS, Novosibirsk; Institute of Global Climate and Environment, Moscow) and foreign organisations (Japanese EPA; Center for Advanced Technologies, Tokyo University; specialists in atmospheric chemistry from Antwerpen University (Belgium) and Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Maintz (Germany)) have shown much interest in the station. In a 17.09.98 letter signed by its chairman, Mr.V.LDanilov-Danilyan, the Russian State Ecology Committee has supported the proposal to organise a background monitoring station on the basis of the Mondy astronomical station. Further expansion of the monitoring program at the station and the establishment of its status as a world background station will depend only on how the financial problems are solved. The station is believed to be included into the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) starting from the year 2000, the technical preparation of these stations is performed by 10 Asian countries under Japanese leadership.

It also appears important to estimate a potential possibility of environmental acidification (soil, vegetation, lakes) in the background areas of Central Asia, as atmospheric precipitation in the background areas are known to have an acidification trend caused by long-distance transportation of atmospheric pollution. The principal source of atmospheric acidification in eastern Russia is China, especially its north-eastern provinces, and Russia is positively interested in lowering trans-border transportation in the region, and, correspondingly, in the functioning of an international stations network.

Research plan: approaches and methods

Monitoring methods and techniques for chemical analyses of samples are listed in Appendix I. The research objectives will employ the following approaches:

Expected results

Data on the present-day quality of the atmosphere in the background area of the Russian central Asia will be obtained for:

List of publications of participants related to the project


List of parameters to be measured interval
1. Gases:
Sampling Method of examination Note
O3 10 minutes UVspectrometry Automatic analysers with computer
CO2 -- -- registration
SO2 24 hours Absorption on filters with  
NH3 -- subsequent lab analyses  
HNO3 --    
HCl --    
2. Aerosols:
Mass concentration

Ion fraction:

1 hour


Continuous registration
804, Cl, NOs HCO3; Na, Ca, Mg, NH4.

24 hours

Sampling on filters Ion chromatography, spectrophotometry, atomic absorption

Limnological Institute SB RAS


Elemental composition: All elements heavier than Na (including trace metals: Sb, As, In, Mn, V, Pb, Zn, Hg etc.)

24 hours

Sampling on filters
X-ray-fluorescence analysis based on synchrotron radiation (XFA-SR)

Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS)

Institute of Nuclear Physics SB RAS

Examination of single particles   Electron microscopy supplemented by XFA microprobe Limnological Institute SB RAS
the method allows determination of shape and composition of individual aerosol particles, to distinguish natural and anthropogenic ones

Organic fraction:
Polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) -10 compounds

Several hours

Sampling on filters with subsequent lab analysis (liquid chromatography) Limnological Institute SB RAS
3 .Atmospheric precipitation

Hours or days

The same methods as those for aerosols examination

Wet depositions are collected by automatic collector, Dry depositions are calculated using air concentrations

4. Meteorological observations; wind direction and speed, air temperature and humidity, summed solar radiation, soil temperature.

Standard meteo timing; continuous registration possible

Automatic registration using recorders or computers.




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Mass concentration of solvable fraction of aerosol in the Lake Baikal region.


Seasonal variability of ion fraction of aerosols (sum of ions) 1993-96.


The composition of aerosols on st.Mondy