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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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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 28 Jan 2019

Research article | 28 Jan 2019

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

Insight into the Composition of Organic Compounds (≥ C6) in PM2.5 in Wintertime in Beijing, China

Ruihe Lyu1,2, Zongbo Shi2, Mohammed Salim Alam2, Xuefang Wu2,4, Di Liu2, Tuan V. Vu2, Christopher Stark2, Pingqing Fu3, Yinchang Feng1, and Roy M. Harrison2,a Ruihe Lyu et al.
  • 1State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Urban Ambient Air Particulate Matter Pollution Prevention and Control, College of Environmental Science and Engineering Nankai University, Tianjin 300350, China
  • 2Division of Environmental Health and Risk Management School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
  • 3Institute of Surface Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300350, China
  • 4Regional Department of Geology and Mineral Resources, University of Geosciences, Xueyuan Road 29, 100083 Beijing, China
  • anow at: Department of Environmental Sciences / Centre of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, PO Box 802 03, Jeddah, 21589, Saudi Arabia

Abstract. Organic matter is a major component of PM2.5 in megacities. In order to understand the detailed characteristics of organic compounds (> C6) at a molecular level on non-haze and haze days, we determined more than 300 organic compounds in the PM2.5 from an urban area of Beijing in November-December 2016 using two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC × GC-TOFMS). The identified organic compounds have been classified into groups, and quantitative methods were used to calculate their concentrations. Primary emission sources make significant contributions to the atmospheric organic compounds and six groups (including n-alkanes, PAHs, levoglucosan, branched-alkanes, n-alkenes and alkyl-benzenes) account for 66 % of total identified organic compound mass. In addition, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and oxygenated PAHs (OPAHs) were abundant amongst the atmospheric organic compounds on both haze and non-haze days. A near-unimodal molecular distribution, peaking approximately within the range of C19-C28, was observed in most hydrocarbon groups. In addition, the concentrations of unidentified compounds were also estimated in the present study. The total identified compounds account for approximately 47 % of total organic compounds (> C6) in the chromatogram on both the non-haze and haze days. The total mass concentrations of organic compounds (> C6) in the chromatogram were 4.0 μg m−3 and 7.4 μg m−3 on the non-haze and haze days respectively, accounting for 26.5 % and 18.5 % of OM respectively on those days. There is strong evidence that the organic aerosol is more highly oxidised, and hence less GC-volatile on haze days.

Ruihe Lyu et al.
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Ruihe Lyu et al.
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Short summary
Severe pollution of the Beijing atmosphere is a frequent occurrence. The airborne particles which characterise the episodes of haze contain a wide range of chemical constituents but organic compounds make up a substantial proportion. In this study individual compounds have been analysed under both haze and non-haze conditions and the measurements are compared with samples collected in London where the air pollution climate and sources are very different.
Severe pollution of the Beijing atmosphere is a frequent occurrence. The airborne particles...