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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© 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

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

Exploring wintertime regional haze in Northeast China: role of coal and biomass burning

Jian Zhang1, Lei Liu1, Liang Xu1, Qiuhan Lin1, Hujia Zhao2, Zhibin Wang3, Song Guo4, Min Hu4, Zongbo Shi5, Dantong Liu1, Dao Huang1, and Weijun Li1 Jian Zhang et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310027, China
  • 2Institute of Atmospheric Environment, China Meteorological Administration, Shenyang, 110016, China
  • 3Research Center for Air Pollution and Health, College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, 310058, China
  • 4State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
  • 5School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, B152TT, UK

Abstract. As one of the intense anthropogenic emission regions across the relatively high latitude (> 40° N) areas on the Earth, Northeast China faces serious problem on regional haze during long winter with half a year. Aerosols in polluted haze in Northeast China are poorly understood compared with the haze in other regions of China such as North China Plain. Here, we for the first time integrated bulk chemical measurements with single particle analysis from transmission electron microscopy (TEM), nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) to obtain morphology, size, composition, aging process, and sources of aerosol particles collected during two contrasting regional haze events (Haze-I and Haze-II) at an urban site and a mountain site in Northeast China, and further investigated the causes of regional haze formation. Haze-I evolved from moderate (average PM2.5: 76–108 μg/m3) to heavy pollution (151–154 μg/m3), with the dominant PM2.5 component changing from organic matter (OM) (39–45 μg/m3) to secondary inorganic ions (94–101 μg/m3). Similarly, TEM observations showed that S-OM particles elevated from 29 % to 60 % by number at urban site and 64 % to 74 % at mountain site and 75–96 % of Haze-I particles included primary OM. Change of wind direction induced that Haze-I rapidly turned into Haze-II (185–223 μg/m3) with the predominant OM (98–133 μg/m3) and unexpectedly high K+ (3.8 μg/m3). TEM also showed that K-OM particles increased from 4–5 % by number to 50–52 %. Our study revealed a contrasting formation mechanism of these two haze events: Haze-I was induced by accumulation of primary OM emitted from residential coal burning and further deteriorated by secondary aerosol formation via heterogeneous reactions; Haze-II was caused by long-range transport of agricultural biomass burning emissions. Moreover, we found that 75–97 % of haze particles contained tarballs, but only 4–23 % contained black carbon and its concentrations were low at 2.7–4.3 μg/m3. The results highlight that abundant tarballs are important light-absorbing brown carbon in Northeast China during winter haze and further considered in climate models.

Jian Zhang et al.
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Short summary
Northeast China faces severe air pollution on regional haze over whole wintertime. In this study, we revealed a contrasting formation mechanism of two typical haze events: Haze-I was induced by adverse meteorological conditions together with residential coal burning emissions; Haze-II was caused by agricultural biomass waste burning. In particular, we observed large numbers of tarballs as the primary brown carbon in Northeast China. This finding can be referred to the climate model simulations.
Northeast China faces severe air pollution on regional haze over whole wintertime. In this...