1Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan
2Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Central University, Chungli, Taiwan
3Department of Environmental Engineering, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung, Taiwan
4Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
5Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung, Taiwan
6Department of Environmental Engineering, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
7Department of Environmental Resources Management, Dahan Institute of Technology, Hualien, Taiwan
Abstract. To investigate the physico-chemical properties of aerosols in Taiwan, an observation network was initiated in 2003. In this work, the measurements of the mass concentration and carbonaceous composition of PM10 and PM2.5 are presented. Analysis on the data collected in the first 5-years, from 2003 to 2007, showed that there was a very strong contrast in the aerosol field between the rural and the urban/suburban stations. The five-year means of EC at the respective stations ranged from 0.9±0.04 to 4.2±0.1 μgC m−3. In rural areas, EC accounted for 2–3% of PM10 and 3–5% of PM2.5 mass loadings, comparing to 4–6% of PM10 and 4–8% of PM2.5 in the urban areas. It was found that the spatial distribution of EC was consistent with CO and NOx across the network stations, suggesting that the levels of EC over Taiwan were dominated by local sources. The measured OC was split into POC and SOC counterparts following the EC tracer method. Five-year means of POC ranged from 1.8±0.1 to 9.7±0.2 μgC m−3 among the stations. It was estimated that the POM contributed 5–17% of PM10 and 7–18% of PM2.5 in Taiwan. On the other hand, the five-year means of SOC ranged from 1.5±0.1 to 3.8±0.3 μgC m−3. The mass fractions of SOM were estimated to be 9–19% in PM10 and 14–22% in PM2.5. The results showed that the SOC did not exhibit significant urban-rural contrast as did the POC and EC. A significant cross-station correlation between SOC and total oxidant was observed, which means the spatial distribution of SOC in Taiwan was dominated by the oxidant mixing ratio. Besides, correlation was also found between SOC and particulate nitrate, implying that the precursors of SOA were mainly from local anthropogenic sources. In addition to the spatial distribution, the carbonaceous aerosols also exhibited distinct seasonality. In northern Taiwan, the concentrations of all the three carbonaceous components (EC, POC, and SOC) reached their respective minima in the fall season. POC and EC increased drastically in winter and peaked in spring, whereas the SOC was characterized by a bimodal pattern with the maximal concentration in winter and a second mode in summertime. In southern Taiwan, minimal levels of POC and EC occurred consistently in summer and the maxima were observed in winter, whereas the SOC peaked in summer and declined in wintertime. The discrepancies in the seasonality of carbonaceous aerosols between northern and southern Taiwan were most likely caused by the seasonal meteorological settings that dominated the dispersion of air pollutants. Moreover, it was inferred that the Asian pollution outbreaks could have shifted the seasonal maxima of air pollutants from winter to spring in the northern Taiwan, and that the biogenic SOA precursors were responsible to the elevated SOC concentrations in summer.