Articles | Volume 13, issue 22
Research article
28 Nov 2013
Research article |  | 28 Nov 2013

Observation of biogenic secondary organic aerosols in the atmosphere of a mountain site in central China: temperature and relative humidity effects

J. J. Li, G. H. Wang, J. J. Cao, X. M. Wang, and R. J. Zhang

Abstract. Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) derived from isoprene, pinene and caryophyllene were determined for PM10 and size-segregated (9-stages) aerosols collected at the summit (2060 m a.s.l.) of Mt. Hua, central China during the summer of 2009. Estimated concentrations of isoprene, α-/β-pinene and β-caryophyllene derived secondary organic carbon (SOC) are 81 ± 53, 29 ± 14 and 98 ± 53 ng m−3, accounting for 2.7 ± 1.0%, 0.8 ± 0.2% and 2.1 ± 1.0% of OC, respectively. Concentrations of biogenic (BSOA, the isoprene/pinene/caryophyllene oxidation products) and anthropogenic (ASOA, mainly aromatic acids) SOA positively correlated with temperature (R=0.57–0.90). However, a decreasing trend of BSOA concentration with an increase in relative humidity (RH) was observed during the sampling period, although a clear trend between ASOA and RH was not found. Based on the AIM Model calculation, we found that during the sampling period an increase in RH resulted in a decrease in the aerosol acidity and thus reduced the effect of acid-catalysis on BSOA formation. There was no significant correlation observed for the BSOA products and anthropogenic parameters (e.g. EC, SO42− and NO4). Size distribution measurements showed that most of the determined BSOA are formed in the aerosol phase and enriched in the fine mode (<2.1 μm) except for cis-pinonic acid, which is formed in the gas phase and subsequently partitioned into aerosol phase and thus presents a bimodal pattern with a small peak in the fine mode and a large peak in the coarse mode (>2.1 μm).

Final-revised paper