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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1009
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1009
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 08 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 08 Jan 2020

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

Seasonal Differences in the Composition of Organic Aerosols in Beijing: a Study by Direct Infusion Ultrahigh Resolution Mass Spectrometry

Sarah S. Steimer1,2, Daniel J. Patton1, Tuan V. Vu3, Marios Panagi4,5, Paul S. Monks6, Roy M. Harrison3,7, Zoë L. Fleming4,a, Zongbo Shi3, and Markus Kalberer1,2 Sarah S. Steimer et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 1EW, UK
  • 2Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Basel, 4056 Basel, Switzerland
  • 3Division of Environmental Health & Risk Management, School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B1 52TT, UK
  • 4National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 5Department of Physics and Astronomy, Earth Observation Science Group, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 6Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK
  • 7Department of Environmental Sciences/Center of Excellence in Environmental Studies, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box 80203, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • anow at: Center for Climate and Resilience Research (CR2), Departamento de Geofísica, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile

Abstract. This study investigates the chemical composition of PM2.5 collected at a central location in Beijing, China, during winter 2016 and summer 2017. The samples were characterised using direct infusion negative nano-electrospray ionisation ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to elucidate the composition and the potential primary and secondary sources of the organic fraction. The samples from the two seasons were compared with those from a road-tunnel site and an urban background site in Birmingham, UK, analysed in the course of an earlier study using the same method. There were strong differences in aerosol particle composition between the seasons, particularly regarding (poly-)aromatic compounds, which were strongly enhanced in winter, likely due to increased fossil fuel and biomass burning for heating. In addition to the seasonal differences, compositional differences between high and low pollution conditions were observed, with the contribution of sulfur-containing organic compounds strongly enhanced under high pollution conditions. There was a correlation of the number of sulphur-containing molecular formulae with the concentration of particulate sulfate, consistent with a particle-phase formation process.

Sarah S. Steimer et al.
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Short summary
Air pollution is of growing concern due to its negative effect on public health, especially in low-and middle-income countries. This study investigates how the chemical composition of particles in Beijing changes under different measurement conditions (pollution levels, season) to get a better understanding of the sources of this form of air pollution.
Air pollution is of growing concern due to its negative effect on public health, especially in...
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