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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/acp-2016-853
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
05 Dec 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).
Limited production of sulfate and nitrate on front-associated dust storm particles moving from desert to distant populated areas in northwestern China
Feng Wu1, Daizhou Zhang2, Junji Cao1,3, Xiao Guo1,4, Yao Xia1,4, Ting Zhang1, Hui Lu5, and Yan Cheng3 1Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics, and State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Science, Xi'an, China
2Faculty of Environmental and Symbiotic Sciences, Prefectural University of Kumamoto, Kumamoto, Japan
3Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China
4School of Tropical Eco-Environment Protection, Hainan Tropical Marine University, Sanya, China
5Institute of Desert Meteorology, China Meteorological Administration, Urumqi, China
Abstract. Sulfate and nitrate compounds can greatly increase the hygroscopicity of mineral particles in the atmosphere and, consequently, alter the particles' physical and chemical properties. Their uptake on long-distance transported Asian dust particles within mainland China has been reported to be substantial in previous studies, but the production was very inefficient in other studies. We compared these two salts in particles collected from a synoptic scale, mid-latitude cyclone-induced dust storm plume at the Tengger desert (38.79° N, 105.38° E) and in particles collected in a postfrontal dust plume at an urban site in Xi'an (34.22° N, 108.87° E) when a front-associated dust storm from the Tengger desert arrived there approximately 700 km downwind. Results showed that sulfate concentration was not considerably different at the two sites while nitrate concentration was slightly larger at the urban site than that at the desert site. The estimated nitrate production rate was 4–5 ng per μg mineral dust per day, which was much less than that in polluted urban air. These results indicate that the production of nitrate and sulfate on dust particles following cold fronts was limited when the particles moved from the desert to populated areas. The adiabatic process of the dust-loading air was suggested to be the reason for the absence of sulfate formation and the uptake of background HNO3 to be the reason for the small nitrate production. The significant sulfate and nitrate reported in dust-associated samples in previous studies were more likely produced on locally-emitted and urban mineral particles or from soil-derived sulfate rather than being produced via chemical conversions on desert dust particles.

Citation: Wu, F., Zhang, D., Cao, J., Guo, X., Xia, Y., Zhang, T., Lu, H., and Cheng, Y.: Limited production of sulfate and nitrate on front-associated dust storm particles moving from desert to distant populated areas in northwestern China, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2016-853, in review, 2016.
Feng Wu et al.
Feng Wu et al.
Feng Wu et al.

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Short summary
Sulfate and nitrate in dust particles at a desert site and at a 700-km downwind urban site in China were compared. The production of the two salts during the transport of dust particles was limited, because of the adiabatic process of the dust-loading air movement. Significant sulfate and nitrate previously reported in dust-associated samples were more likely produced on local mineral particles or originated from soils, rather than the products of chemical reactions on desert dust particles.
Sulfate and nitrate in dust particles at a desert site and at a 700-km downwind urban site in...
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