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      High secondary aerosol contribution to particulate pollution during haze events in China

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          Abstract

          Rapid industrialization and urbanization in developing countries has led to an increase in air pollution, along a similar trajectory to that previously experienced by the developed nations. In China, particulate pollution is a serious environmental problem that is influencing air quality, regional and global climates, and human health. In response to the extremely severe and persistent haze pollution experienced by about 800 million people during the first quarter of 2013 (refs 4, 5), the Chinese State Council announced its aim to reduce concentrations of PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometres) by up to 25 per cent relative to 2012 levels by 2017 (ref. 6). Such efforts however require elucidation of the factors governing the abundance and composition of PM2.5, which remain poorly constrained in China. Here we combine a comprehensive set of novel and state-of-the-art offline analytical approaches and statistical techniques to investigate the chemical nature and sources of particulate matter at urban locations in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xi'an during January 2013. We find that the severe haze pollution event was driven to a large extent by secondary aerosol formation, which contributed 30-77 per cent and 44-71 per cent (average for all four cities) of PM2.5 and of organic aerosol, respectively. On average, the contribution of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) and secondary inorganic aerosol (SIA) are found to be of similar importance (SOA/SIA ratios range from 0.6 to 1.4). Our results suggest that, in addition to mitigating primary particulate emissions, reducing the emissions of secondary aerosol precursors from, for example, fossil fuel combustion and biomass burning is likely to be important for controlling China's PM2.5 levels and for reducing the environmental, economic and health impacts resulting from particulate pollution.

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          Most cited references18

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          Evolution of organic aerosols in the atmosphere.

          Organic aerosol (OA) particles affect climate forcing and human health, but their sources and evolution remain poorly characterized. We present a unifying model framework describing the atmospheric evolution of OA that is constrained by high-time-resolution measurements of its composition, volatility, and oxidation state. OA and OA precursor gases evolve by becoming increasingly oxidized, less volatile, and more hygroscopic, leading to the formation of oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA), with concentrations comparable to those of sulfate aerosol throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Our model framework captures the dynamic aging behavior observed in both the atmosphere and laboratory: It can serve as a basis for improving parameterizations in regional and global models.
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            Secondary organic aerosol formation in cloud droplets and aqueous particles (aqSOA): a review of laboratory, field and model studies

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              Is Open Access

              SoFi, an IGOR-based interface for the efficient use of the generalized multilinear engine (ME-2) for the source apportionment: ME-2 application to aerosol mass spectrometer data

              Abstract. Source apportionment using the bilinear model through a multilinear engine (ME-2) was successfully applied to non-refractory organic aerosol (OA) mass spectra collected during the winter of 2011 and 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland using the aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM). Five factors were identified: low-volatility oxygenated OA (LV-OOA), semivolatile oxygenated OA (SV-OOA), hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), cooking OA (COA) and biomass burning OA (BBOA). A graphical user interface SoFi (Source Finder) was developed at PSI in order to facilitate the testing of different rotational techniques available within the ME-2 engine by providing a priori factor profiles for some or all of the expected factors. ME-2 was used to test the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model, the fully constrained chemical mass balance (CMB) model, and partially constrained models utilizing a values and pulling equations. Within the set of model solutions determined to be environmentally reasonable, BBOA and SV-OOA factor mass spectra and time series showed the greatest variability. This variability represents the uncertainty in the model solution and indicates that analysis of model rotations provides a useful approach for assessing the uncertainty of bilinear source apportionment models.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                October 2014
                September 17 2014
                October 2014
                : 514
                : 7521
                : 218-222
                Article
                10.1038/nature13774
                25231863
                d76141bc-bdca-45b1-9c18-ec22356d5f9d
                © 2014

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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