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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-752
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-752
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 04 Sep 2019

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

Heterogeneous Formation of Particulate Nitrate under Ammonium-rich Regime during the high PM2.5 events in Nanjing, China

Yu-Chi Lin1,2,3, Yan-Lin Zhang1,2,3, Mei-Yi Fan1,2,3, and Mengying Bao1,2,3 Yu-Chi Lin et al.
  • 1Yale-NUIST Center on Atmospheric Environment, International Joint Laboratory on Climate and Environment Change, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, 210044, China
  • 2Key Laboratory Meteorological Disaster; Ministry of Education & Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disaster, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, 210044, China
  • 3Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Agricultural Meteorology, College of Applied Meteorology, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China

Abstract. Particulate nitrate (NO3) not only influences regional climates but also contributes to the acidification of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. In 2016 and 2017, four intensive on-line measurements of water-soluble ions in PM2.5 were conducted in Nanjing City to investigate the potential formation mechanisms of particulate nitrate. During the sampling periods, NO3 was the most predominant species, accounting for 35 % of the total water-soluble inorganic ions, followed by SO42− (33 %) and NH4+ (24 %). Significant enhancements of nitrate aerosols in terms of both absolute concentrations and relative abundances suggested that NO3 was a major contributing species to high-PM2.5 events (hourly PM2.5 ≥ 150 μg m−3). High NO3 concentrations mainly occurred under NH4+-rich conditions, implying that the formation of nitrate aerosols in Nanjing involved NH3. During the high-PM2.5 events, the nitrogen conversion ratios (Fn) were positively correlated with the aerosol liquid water content (ALWC, R = 0.75, p < .05). Meanwhile, increasing NO3 concentrations regularly coincided with increasing ALWC and decreasing Ox (Ox = O3 + NO2). These results suggested that the heterogeneous reaction was probably a major mechanism of nitrate formation. Moreover, the average production rate of NO3 by heterogeneous processes was estimated to be 12.6 % h−1, which was much higher than that (2.5 % h−1) of gas-phase reactions. This can also explain the abrupt increase of nitrate concentrations during the high PM2.5 events. Finally, ammonium nitrate aerosol formation was HNO3-limited, indicating that the control of NOx emissions will be able to efficiently reduce airborne nitrate concentrations and improve the air quality in this industrial city.

Yu-Chi Lin et al.
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Short summary
1.Nitrate was a dominant contributing species in water-soluble inorganic ions during the high PM2.5 events in Nanjing. 2. Nitrate aerosols in Nanjing during the PM2.5 events were mainly produced by hydrolysis of N2O5 in preexisting aerosols under ammonium-rich regimes. 3. Control in NOx emissions would inhibit production of nitrate aerosols since NH4NO3 formation was HNO3-limited in Nanjing.
1.Nitrate was a dominant contributing species in water-soluble inorganic ions during the high...
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