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Discussion papers | Copyright
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Research article 12 Apr 2018

Research article | 12 Apr 2018

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

Molecular distribution and stable carbon isotopic compositions of dicarboxylic acids and related SOA from biogenic sources in the summertime atmosphere of Mt. Tai in the North China Plain

Jingjing Meng1,3, Gehui Wang2,3,4, Zhanfang Hou1,3, Xiaodi Liu1, Benjie Wei1, Can Wu3, Cong Cao3, Jiayuan Wang3, Jianjun Li3, Junji Cao3, Erxun Zhang1, Jie Dong1, and Jiazhen Liu1 Jingjing Meng et al.
  • 1School of Environment and Planning, Liaocheng University, Liaocheng 252000, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science of the Ministry of Education, School of Geographic Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Key Lab of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710075, China
  • 4School of Human Settlements and Civil Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China

Abstract. Abstract: Molecular distributions and stable carbon isotopic (δ13C values) compositions of dicarboxylic acids and related SOA in PM2.5 aerosols collected on a day/night basis at the summit of Mt. Tai (1534m a.s.l.) in the summer of 2016 were analyzed to investigate the sources and photochemical aging process of organic aerosols in the forested highland region of North China Plain. The molecular distributions of dicarboxylic acids and related SOA are characterized by the dominance of oxalic acid (C2), followed by malonic (C3), succinic (C4) and azelaic (C9) acids. The concentration ratios of C2/C4, diacid-C/OC and C2/total diacids are larger in daytime than in nighttime, suggesting that the daytime aerosols are more photochemically aged than those in nighttime due to the higher temperatures and stronger solar radiation. Both ratios of C2/C4 (R2>0.5) and C3/C4 (R2>0.5) correlated strongly with the ambient temperature, indicating that SOA in the mountaintop atmosphere are mainly derived from the photochemical oxidation of local emissions rather than long-range transport. The mass ratios of C9/C6, C9/Ph, Gly/mGly and the strong linear correlation of major dicarboxylic acids and related SOA with biogenic precursors further suggest that aerosols in this region are mainly originated from biogenic sources (i.e., tree emissions).

C2 concentrations correlated well with aerosol pH, indicating that particle acidity favors the organic acid formation. The stable carbon isotopic compositions (δ13C) of the dicarboxylic acids are higher in daytime than in nighttime with the highest value (−16.5±1.9‰) found for C2 and the lowest value (−25.2±2.7‰) found for C9. An increase in δ13C values of C2 along with increases in C2/Gly and C2/mGly ratios was observed, largely due to the isotopic fractionation during photochemical degradation of the precursors.

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