Articles | Volume 12, issue 9
Research article
03 May 2012
Research article |  | 03 May 2012

The IPAC-NC field campaign: a pollution and oxidization pool in the lower atmosphere over Huabei, China

J. Z. Ma, W. Wang, Y. Chen, H. J. Liu, P. Yan, G. A. Ding, M. L. Wang, J. Sun, and J. Lelieveld

Abstract. In the past decades, regional air pollution characterized by photochemical smog and grey haze-fog has become a severe environmental problem in China. To investigate this, a field measurement campaign was performed in the Huabei region, located between 32–42° N latitude in eastern China, during the period 2 April–16 May 2006 as part of the project "Influence of Pollution on Aerosols and Cloud Microphysics in North China" (IPAC-NC). It appeared that strong pollution emissions from urban and industrial centers tend to accumulate in the lower atmosphere over the central area of Huabei. We observed widespread, very high SO2 mixing ratios, about 20–40 ppbv at 0.5–1.5 km altitude and 10–30 ppbv at 1.5–3.0 km altitude. Average CO mixing ratios were 0.65–0.7 ppmv at 0.5–1.5 km altitude, and very high CO around 1 ppmv was observed during some flights, and even higher levels at the surface. We find the high pollution concentrations to be associated with enhanced levels of OH and HO2 radicals, calculated with a chemical box model constrained by the measurements. In the upper part of the boundary layer and in the lower free troposphere, high CO and SO2 compete with relatively less NO2 in reacting with OH, being efficiently recycled through HO2, preventing a net loss of HOx radicals. In addition to reactive hydrocarbons and CO, the oxidation of SO2 causes significant ozone production over Huabei (up to ~13% or 2.0 ppbv h−1 at 0.8 km altitude). Our results indicate that the lower atmosphere over Huabei is not only strongly polluted but also acts as an oxidation pool, with pollutants undergoing very active photochemistry over this part of China.

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