Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 33543-33582, 2011
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Observation of atmospheric aerosols at Mt. Hua and Mt. Tai in Central and East China during spring 2009 – Part 2: Impact of dust storm on organic aerosol composition and size distribution
G. H. Wang1,2,3, J. J. Li1, C. L. Cheng1, B. H. Zhou4, M. J. Xie3,*, S. Y. Hu3, J. J. Meng1, T. Sun1, Y. Q. Ren1, J. J. Cao1, S. X. Liu1, T. Zhang1, and Z. Z. Zhao1
1State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710075, China
2Department of Environmental Science, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710049, China
3State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resources Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
4Department of Geographical Science and Environment Engineering, Baoji University of Art and Science, Baoji 721013, China
*now at: University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

Abstract. PM10 and size-resolved particles (9-stage) were simultaneously collected at Mt. Hua and Mt. Tai in Central and East China during the spring of 2009 including a massive dust storm occurring on April 24th (named as DS II), and determined for organic compounds to investigate the impact of dust storm on organic aerosols. High molecular weight (HMW) n-alkanes, fatty acids, and fatty alcohols and trehalose sharply increased and almost entirely stayed in coarse particles when dust storm was present, suggesting that high level of organic aerosols in the mountain atmospheres during the event originated from biogenic sources in the Gobi desert. However, most anthropogenic aerosols (e.g., PAHs, aromatic acids and dicarboyxlic acids) during the event significantly decreased due to a dilution effect, indicating that anthropogenic aerosols in the mountain air during the nonevent period are largely derived from local/regional sources rather than from long-range transport. Our results indicate that trehalose can be taken as a new tracer for dust emissions from desert regions since trehalose was negligible in the nonevent but abundant in the event. Molecular compositions of organic aerosols in the mountain samples further demonstrate that domestic coal burning is still the major source of PAHs in China.

n-Alkanes and fatty acids showed a bimodal size distribution during the nonevent with a major peak in fine mode (<2.1 μm) and a small peak in coarse mode (>2.1 μm). The coarse mode significantly increased and even dominated over the whole size range when dust was present. Glucose and trehalose were also dominant in the coarse mode especially in the DS II time. PAHs and levoglucosan concentrated in fine particles with no significant changes in size distribution when dust storm occurred. However, phthalic and succinic acids showed bimodal size distribution pattern with an increase in coarse mode during the event, because both are formed via a gas phase oxidation and a subsequent condensation/adsorption onto aerosol phase. In contrast, terephthalic and malic acids are mostly emitted from combustion process as fine particles, thus both showed a fine mode pattern during the whole campaign with a minor peak in coarse mode caused by an increased coagulation with dust during the event. Geometric mean diameters (GMDs) of the organic aerosols above are in general larger at Mt. Hua than at Mt. Tai during the nonevent period. We found that during the event GMD of the fine mode organics that derived mostly from the local/regional sources rather than Gobi desert became smaller while GMD of them in coarse mode became larger. Such a polarization in sizes during the event is most likely caused by decreased fine particle coagulation due to dilution and increased adsorption/coagulation with dust.

Citation: Wang, G. H., Li, J. J., Cheng, C. L., Zhou, B. H., Xie, M. J., Hu, S. Y., Meng, J. J., Sun, T., Ren, Y. Q., Cao, J. J., Liu, S. X., Zhang, T., and Zhao, Z. Z.: Observation of atmospheric aerosols at Mt. Hua and Mt. Tai in Central and East China during spring 2009 – Part 2: Impact of dust storm on organic aerosol composition and size distribution, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 33543-33582, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-33543-2011, 2011.
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