Chemical composition of rainwater collected from 2006 to 2009 in Mexico City and at a rural site at Morelos State, south central Mexico
The objective of the study was to evaluate the chemical composition of rainwater in urban and suburban areas of central Mexico to identify the possible sources of rainwater contamination. The rainwater was collected at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, Campus Ciudad Universitaria (CU), in the southern part of Mexico City at 2200 meters above sea level (m a.s.l.). CU has many green areas with high to moderate traffic densities where air quality presents serious problems of pollution by particulate matter. The other sampling site is a forested rural area (Tlalnepantla), State of Morelos, Mexico, a suburban area 86 km to the south of Mexico City. A total of 145 rainwater samples were collected in the rain period from 2006 to 2009. The ions analyzed were the following: SO42-, NO3-, Cl-, HCO3-, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+, NH4+ and H+. Ammonium was the most abundant cation in both sites and is one of those responsible for the neutralization of acidic compounds in the atmosphere. The relative abundance of the inorganic anions present in the rainwater was in the following order: SO42- > NO3- > Cl-, for the alkaline metals the order was Ca2+ >Mg2+ > Na+ > K+ and Ca2+ >Mg2+ >K+ >Na+ for CU and Morelos, respectively. A correlation analysis shows a strong positive correlation among the ions, indicating that the most important source was anthropogenic. Air mass back trajectories were associated with the SO42-, Ca2+, Mg2+, NH4+ and H+ concentrations observed on each rainy day. Four factors were used in the statistic analysis and was weighted within each factor. Weights greater than 0.5 are considered to be significant components of each factor. The four factors explain 84.7 % of the total variance of all of the data for CU and 66.9 % for Morelos. All of these factors were associated with all of the analyzed ions. Air pollutant back trajectories were used to understand atmospheric transport and to identify the origins and pathways of air masses influencing the concentrations of the measured ions in rainwater.