Rural background stations provide insight into seasonal variations in pollutant concentrations and allow for comparisons to be made with stations closer to anthropogenic emissions. In Malaysia, the designated background station is located in Jerantut, Pahang. A fifteen-year data set focusing on ten major air pollutants and four meteorological variables from this station were analysed. Diurnal, monthly and yearly pollutant concentrations were derived from hourly continuous monitoring data. Statistical methods employed included principal component regression (PCR) and sensitivity analysis. Although only one of the yearly concentrations of the pollutants studied exceeded national and World Health Organisation (WHO) guideline standards, namely PM10, seven of the pollutants (NO, NO2, NOx, O3, PM10, THC and CH4) showed a positive upward trend over the 15-year period. High concentrations of PM10 were recorded during severe haze episodes in this region. Whilst, monthly concentrations of most air pollutants, such as: PM10, O3, NOx, NO2, CO and NmHC were recorded at higher concentrations between June and September, during the southwest monsoon. Such results correspond with the mid-range transport of pollutants from more urbanised and industrial areas. Diurnal patterns, rationed between major air pollutants and sensitivity analysis, indicate the influence of local traffic emissions on air quality at the Jerantut background station. Although the pollutant concentrations have not shown a rapid increase, an alternative background station will need to be assigned within the next decade if development projects in the surrounding area are not halted.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.