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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-1183
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
The concentration, source apportionment and deposition flux of atmospheric particulate inorganic nitrogen during dust events
Jianhua Qi1, Ruifeng Zhang1, Xiaojing Chen1, Xuehui Lin2, Huiwang Gao1, and Ruhai Liu1 1Key Laboratory of Marine Environment and Ecology, Ministry of Education, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, 266100, China
2Qingdao Institute of Marine Geology, Qingdao, 266100, China
Abstract. To understand the impacts of long-range transport on particulate inorganic nitrogen associated with dust in downwind areas, aerosol samples were collected in the Qingdao coastal region on dust and non-dust (ND) days in spring from 2008 to 2011. The concentrations of water-soluble ions were measured by ion chromatography, with metal elements detected using inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES) and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Compared to atmospheric aerosols collected on ND days, samples from dust days exhibited higher concentrations of particles and crustal elements. Total aerosol particle concentrations increased by a factor of 5.9 on average dust days. On dust days, the average concentrations of crustal elements (Sc, Al, Fe, Ca and Mg) increased by over a factor of four relative to those on ND days. The inorganic nitrogen content increased 1.2 to 9.2-fold during some dust events in which storms were weak or slow moving and reactions occurred during transport. By contrast, nitrate and ammonium exhibited very low concentrations (< 20 % of ND samples) or decreased concentrations in some cases as a result of the strong dilution effect of low-nutrient dust particles arising from their rapid transport in a strong dust storm. If air masses traveled faster than 40.5 ± 9.9 km/h, the inorganic nitrogen content of most aerosol samples decreased compared to that of ND samples because of the strong dilution effect. The concentration of atmospheric particulate inorganic nitrogen was related to not only the transport path and speed but also the local emissions and reaction conditions during transport. The positive matrix factorization (PMF) receptor model results showed that the contribution of soil dust dramatically increased from 23 % to 36 % (90 % of the residuals < 3.0 and r2 = 0.97) on dust days, while the contributions of local anthropogenic sources decreased, especially that of secondary aerosols. The dry deposition flux of atmospheric particulates increased from 2800 ± 700 mg/m2/month on ND days to 16,800 ± 15,900 on dust days. The dry deposition flux of particulate inorganic nitrogen increased 1.1 to 5.8-fold under the weak dilution effects of dust events. The dry deposition flux of nitrate decreased by 46 %–63 %, while that of ammonium decreased by 14 % or to ND levels when strong dilution occurred during dust events. The atmospheric input of nitrogen to the ocean was not enhanced by dust events, and dust deposition was an uncertain source of nitrogen to the ocean.

Citation: Qi, J., Zhang, R., Chen, X., Lin, X., Gao, H., and Liu, R.: The concentration, source apportionment and deposition flux of atmospheric particulate inorganic nitrogen during dust events, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2016-1183, in review, 2017.
Jianhua Qi et al.
Jianhua Qi et al.
Jianhua Qi et al.

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Short summary
Does dust event always increase the atmospheric input of nitrogen to the ocean? We found that a dust event did not simply increase nutrient concentrations. The atmospheric input of nitrogen to the ocean depends on the "dilution effect" of a dust event. Dust deposition was an uncertain source of nitrogen to the ocean. The contribution of dust events to marine nitrogen input will be overestimated if the flux simply considers dust concentrations and a constant ratio of nutrients to particles.
Does dust event always increase the atmospheric input of nitrogen to the ocean? We found that a...
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