Abstract Twenty-four hour samples of air particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters from 2 to 10 μm (PM 10) and <2.5 μm (PM 2.5) were collected in Hanoi throughout 1 year since August 1998. The air sampler was located in a meteorological garden where routine surface observations and upper air radiosoundings were conducted. Very high PM 2.5 and PM 2.5−10 concentrations were observed in conjunction with the occurrence of nocturnal radiation inversions from October to December and subsidence temperature inversions (STI) from January to March. In the first case, the PM 2.5−10 fraction was much enhanced and particulate pollution was significantly higher at night than in daytime. During the occurence of STIs particulate mass was almost evenly distributed among the two fractions and no significant diurnal variations in concentrations were observed. In summer (May–September) particulate pollution was much lower than in winter. The multiple regression of 24-h particulate concentrations against meteorological parameters for both the winter and summer monsoon periods shows that the most important determinants of PM 2.5 are wind speed and air temperature, while rainfall and relative humidity largely control the daily variations of PM 2.5−10, indicating the high abundance of soil dust in this fraction. As to turbulence parameters, among the determinants of 24-h particulate concentrations are the vertical gradients of potential temperature and wind speed recorded at 06.30 and 18.30, respectively. Meteorological parameters could explain from 60% to 74% of the day-to-day variations of particulate concentrations.