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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-158
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-158
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 09 Mar 2020

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Contrasting sources and processes of particulate species in haze days with low and high relative humidity in winter time Beijing

Ru-Jin Huang1, Yao He1, Jing Duan1, Yongjie Li2, Qi Chen3, Yan Zheng3, Yang Chen4, Weiwei Hu5, Chunshui Lin1, Haiyan Ni1, Wenting Dai1, Junji Cao1, Yunfei Wu6, Renjian Zhang6, Wei Xu1,7, Jurgita Ovadnevaite7, Darius Ceburnis7, Thorsten Hoffmann8, and Colin D. O'Dowd7 Ru-Jin Huang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, and Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710061, China
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau, China
  • 3State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 4Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing 400714, China
  • 5State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Protection and Resources Utilization, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
  • 6RCE-TEA, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 7School of Physics and Centre for Climate and Air Pollution Studies, Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway H91CF50, Ireland
  • 8Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Duesbergweg 10–14, 55128 Mainz, Germany

Abstract. Although there are many studies of particulate matter (PM) pollution in Beijing, the sources and processes of secondary PM species during haze periods remain unclear. Limited studies have investigated the PM formation in highly-polluted environments under low and high relative humidity (RH) conditions. Herein, we present a systematic comparison of species in submicron particles (PM1) in wintertime Beijing (29 December 2014 to 28 February 2015) for clean periods and pollution periods under low and high RH conditions. PM1 species were measured with an aerosol chemical species monitor (ACSM) and an aethalometer. Sources and processes for organic aerosol (OA) were resolved by positive matrix factorization (PMF) with multilinear engine 2 (ME-2). The comparisons for clean, low-RH pollution, and high-RH pollution periods are made from three different aspects, namely (a) mass concentration, (b) mass fraction, and (c) growth rate in diurnal profiles. OA is the dominant component of PM1 with an average mass concentration of 56.7 μg m−3 (46 %) during high-RH pollution and 67.7 μg m−3 (54 %) during low-RH pollution periods. Sulfate had higher concentration and mass fraction during high-RH pollution periods, while nitrate had higher concentration and mass fraction during low-RH pollution periods. The diurnal variations of nitrate and oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA) showed a daytime increase of their concentrations during all three types of periods. Nitrate had similar growth rates during low-RH (0.40 μg m−3 h−1) and high-RH (0.55 μg m−3 h−1) pollution periods. OOA had a higher growth rate during low-RH pollution periods (1.0 μg m−3 h−1) than during high-RH pollution periods (0.40 μg m−3 h−1). In contrast, sulfate had a decreasing trend during low-RH pollution periods, while it increased significantly with a growth rate of 0.81 μg m−3 h−1 during high-RH pollution periods. These distinctions in mass concentrations, mass fractions, and daytime growth rates may be explained by the difference in the formation processes, affected by meteorological conditions. In particular, photochemical oxidation and aqueous-phase processes may both produce sulfate and nitrate. The relative importance of the two pathways, however, differs under different meteorological conditions. Additional OOA formation under high-RH (> 70 %) conditions suggests aqueous-related formation pathways. This study provides a general picture of the haze formation in Beijing under different meteorological conditions.

Ru-Jin Huang et al.

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Short summary
We systematically compared the submicron particles (PM1) processes in haze days with low and high relative humidity (RH) in winter Beijing. Nitrate had similar daytime growth rates in low-RH and high-RH pollution. OOA had a higher growth rate in low-RH pollution than in high-RH pollution. Sulfate had a decreasing trend in low-RH pollution, while it increased significantly in high-RH pollution. This distinction may be explained by the different processes affected by meteorological conditions.
We systematically compared the submicron particles (PM1) processes in haze days with low and...
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