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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-42
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-42
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Feb 2019

Research article | 12 Feb 2019

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

Impact of air pollution control measures and regional transport on carbonaceous aerosols in fine particulate matter in urban Beijing, China: Insights gained from long-term measurement

Dongsheng Ji1,2, Wenkang Gao1,2, Willy Maenhaut3, Jun He4, Zhe Wang1,5, Jiwei Li1,6, Wupeng Du7, Lili Wang1,2, Yang Sun1,2, Jinyuan Xin1,2, Bo Hu1,2, and Yuesi Wang1,2 Dongsheng Ji et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100191, China
  • 2Atmosphere Sub-Center of Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100191, China
  • 3Department of Chemistry, Ghent University, Gent, 9000, Belgium
  • 4Natural Resources and Environment Research Group, International Doctoral Innovation Centre, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Nottingham Ningbo China, Ningbo, 315100, China
  • 5Research Institute for Applied Mechanics, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, 816-8580, Japan
  • 6University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
  • 7Institute of Urban Meteorology, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China

Abstract. As major chemical components of airborne fine particulate matter (PM2.5), organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) have vital impacts on air quality, climate change, and human health. Because OC and EC are closely associated with fuel combustion, it is helpful for the scientific community and policymakers assessing the efficacy of air pollution control measures to study on the impact of the control measures and regional transport on the OC and EC levels. In this study, hourly mass concentrations of OC and EC associated with PM2.5 were semi-continuously measured from March 2013 to February 2018. The results showed that annual mean OC and EC concentrations declined from 14.0 to 7.7 μg/m3 and from 4.0 to 2.6 μg/m3, respectively, from March 2013 to February 2018. In combination with the data of OC and EC in previous studies, an obvious decreasing trend in OC and EC concentrations was found, which was caused by clean energy policies and effective air pollution control measures. However, no obvious change in the ratios of OC and EC to the PM2.5 mass (on average, 0.164 and 0.049, respectively) was recorded, suggesting that inorganic ions still contributed a lot to PM2.5. Based on the seasonal variations of OC and EC, it appeared that higher OC and EC concentrations were still observed in the winter months, with the exception of winter of 2017–2018. Traffic policies executed in Beijing resulted in nighttime peaks of OC and EC, caused by heavy-duty vehicles and heavy-duty diesel vehicles being permitted to operate from 0:00 to 6:00. In addition, the fact that there was no traffic restriction in weekends led to higher concentrations in weekends compared to weekdays. Significant correlations between OC and EC were observed throughout the study period, suggesting that OC and EC originated from common emission sources, such as exhaust of vehicles and fuel combustion. OC and EC levels increased with enhanced SO2, CO and NOx concentrations while the O3 and OC levels enhanced simultaneously when O3 concentrations were higher than 50 μg/m3. Nonparametric wind regression analysis was performed to examine the sources of OC and EC in the Beijing area. It was found that there were distinct hot spots in the northeast wind sector at wind speeds of approximately 5 km/h, as well as diffuse signals in the southwestern wind sectors, highlighting probable trans-boundary transport from highly industrialized regions upwind of the Hebei province, such as Baoding, Shijiazhuang and Handan, which were the most polluted cities in China. This was consistent with their higher potential as source areas, as determined by the potential source contribution function (PSCF) analysis. A high-potential source area was precisely pinpointed, which was located in the northwestern and southern areas of Beijing in 2017 instead of solely in the southern areas of Beijing in 2013. This work shows that improvement of the air quality in Beijing benefits from strict control measures; however, joint prevention and control of regional air pollution in the regions is needed for further improving the air quality. The results provide a reference for controlling air pollution caused by rapid economic development in developing countries.

Dongsheng Ji et al.
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Short summary
This study reveals an obvious decreasing trend in OC and EC concentrations in urban Beijing. Higher concentrations were related to air masses originating from the northeast sector at wind speeds of approximately 5 km/h. The potential source regions of the carbonaceous aerosols stretched to broader areas in the northwestern and western regions where coal mining and coal-fired power generation activities are intensive, which is almost consistent with the MEIC inventory for China.
This study reveals an obvious decreasing trend in OC and EC concentrations in urban Beijing....
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