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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-945
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-945
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 23 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 23 Oct 2019

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

Role of ammonia on fine-particle pH in agricultural regions of China: Comparison between urban and rural sites

Shenbo Wang1, Lingling Wang2, Yuqing Li3, Chen Wang1, Weisi Wang2, Shasha Yin1, and Ruiqin Zhang1 Shenbo Wang et al.
  • 1Research Institute of Environmental Science, College of Chemistry, Zhengzhou University, Zhengzhou, 450001, China
  • 2Department of Environmental Protection of Henan Province, Zhengzhou, 450001, China
  • 3Department of Environment Science and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

Abstract. Particle acidity is a fundamental property that affects atmospheric particulate chemistry. Synchronous online monitoring was performed in two urban sites (e.g., Zhengzhou (U-ZZ) and Anyang (U-AY)) and three rural sites (e.g., Anyang (R-AY), Xinxiang (R-XX), and Puyang (R-PY)) in Henan Province during a haze episode to investigate the pH value and its driving factors in the agricultural regions of China. The pH values of particles calculated by ISORROPIA-II model at rural sites were slightly higher than those urban sites, with the median values in the order of 5.2 (4.8–6.9, R-PY) > 5.1 (4.7–6.5, R-AY) > 4.9 (4.1–6.8, R-XX) > 4.8 (3.9–5.9, U-AY) > 4.5 (3.8–5.2, U-ZZ). Sensitivity tests showed that excess ammonia mainly affected the pH value of PM2.5. Moreover, low ammonia determined the high sensitivities of particle pH to sulfate and nitrate at urban sites. Elevated sulfate and nitrate in aerosol caused high pH sensitivity to ammonia. Regional transport may enhance the particle pH value in urban aerosols given the high pH of particles and high ammonia levels in rural and agricultural regions. These results suggest that ammonia is urgently needed to be involved in the regional strategy for the improvement of air quality in China.

Shenbo Wang et al.
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Short summary
Synchronous online monitoring was performed in two urban sites and three rural sites in Henan Province. Results show that PM2.5 was more acidic in urban aerosols than that in rural regions, and excess NHx concentrations played a key role in the local particle pH values. Air masses transported from rural and agricultural regions may promote the sulfate formation in urban aerosols. Therefore, ammonia should be involved in the regional strategy for improving the air quality in China.
Synchronous online monitoring was performed in two urban sites and three rural sites in Henan...
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