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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 02 Jan 2019

Research article | 02 Jan 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Primary and secondary sources of ambient formaldehyde in the Yangtze River Delta based on OMPS observation

Wenjing Su1, Cheng Liu1,2,3,4, Qihou Hu2, Shaohua Zhao5, Youwen Sun2, Wei Wang2, Yizhi Zhu2, Jianguo Liu2,3, and Jhoon Kim6 Wenjing Su et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 2Key Lab of Environmental Optics & Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, 230031, China
  • 3Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen, 361021, China
  • 4Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Polar Environment and Global Change, USTC, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 5Satellite Environment Center, State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Satellite Remote Sensing, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Beijing, 100094, China
  • 6Department of Atmospheric Sciences, Yonsei University, Seoul, 03722, Korea

Abstract. Formaldehyde (HCHO) in the ambient air not only causes cancer but also is an ideal indicator for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are major precursors of ozone (O3) and secondary organic aerosol (SOA) near the surface. It is meaningful to differentiate between direct emission and secondary formation for HCHO pollution control and sensitivity study of O3 production. However, the understanding of the sources of HCHO is still poor in China, due to limited measurements of HCHO in the field, both spatially and temporally. In this study, tropospheric HCHO vertical column densities (VCDs) in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD), East China where HCHO pollution is serious were retrieved from Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) onboard the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi-NPP) satellite from 2014 to 2017, and kept good agreement with the tropospheric HCHO columns measured by ground-based high resolution Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTS) with the correlation coefficient (R) of 0.78. Based on this, the cancer risk was estimated nationwide and in the YRD region. At least, 7840 people in the YRD region would develop cancer in their lives due to outdoor HCHO exposure, which occupied 23.4 % of total national cancer risk. Besides, the contributions of primary and secondary sources were apportioned, combining with primary and secondary tracers from surface observation. Overall, HCHO from secondary formation contributed most to ambient HCHO and can be regarded as the indication of the VOCs reactivity in Hangzhou and urban areas of Nanjing and Shanghai from 2015 to 2017, due to strong correlation between total HCHO and secondary HCHO. At industrial sites in Nanjing, primary emission influenced most to ambient HCHO in 2015 and showed an obvious decreasing trend. Seasonally, HCHO from secondary formation reached the maximum in summer and minimum in winter. In the spring, summer, and autumn, secondary formation played a curial effect on variation of ambient HCHO in urban regions of Nanjing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai; while in the winter the contribution from secondary formation became less significant. The understanding of the variation of the primary and secondary contributions to ambient HCHO is in favor for a better understanding the role of HCHO in atmospheric chemistry and formulating effective control measures to decrease HCHO pollution and cancer risk.

Wenjing Su et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Wenjing Su et al.
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Short summary
For a better understanding of the pollution and atmospheric chemistry of HCHO, we evaluated its primary and secondary sources in the Yangtze River Delta based on HCHO column density from Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) and combining with surface in-situ measurements. We found that secondary formation contributed most to ambient HCHO for a long time, but primary emission could be dominant in the winter. The usability of total HCHO as the proxy of VOCs reactivity depends on time scale.
For a better understanding of the pollution and atmospheric chemistry of HCHO, we evaluated its...