Articles | Volume 13, issue 8
Research article
17 Apr 2013
Research article |  | 17 Apr 2013

A case study of the highly time-resolved evolution of aerosol chemical and optical properties in urban Shanghai, China

Y. Huang, L. Li, J. Li, X. Wang, H. Chen, J. Chen, X. Yang, D. S. Gross, H. Wang, L. Qiao, and C. Chen

Abstract. Characteristics of the chemical and optical properties of aerosols in urban Shanghai and their relationship were studied over a three-day period in October 2011. A suite of real-time instruments, including an Aerosol Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (ATOFMS), a Monitor for AeRosols and GAses (MARGA), a Cavity Ring Down Spectrometer (CRDS), a nephelometer and a Scanning Mobility Particle Sizer (SMPS), was employed to follow the quick changes of the aerosol properties within the 72 h sampling period. The origin of the air mass arriving in Shanghai during this period shifted from the East China Sea to the northwest area of China, offering a unique opportunity to observe the evolution of aerosols influenced by regional transport from the most polluted areas in China. According to the meteorological conditions and temporal characterizations of the chemical and optical properties, the sampling period was divided into three periods. During Period 1 (00:00–23:00 LT, 13 October), the aerosols in urban Shanghai were mainly fresh and the single scattering albedo varied negatively with the emission of elemental carbon, indicating that local sources dominated. Period 2 (23:00 LT on 13 October to 10:00 LT on 15 October) was impacted by regionally transported pollutants and had the highest particulate matter (PM) mass loading and the lowest particle acidity, characterized by large fractions of aged particles and high secondary ion (nitrate, sulfate and ammonium) mass concentrations. Comparison between ATOFMS particle acidity and quantitative particle acidity by MARGA indicated the significance of semi-quantitative calculation in ATOFMS. Two sub-periods were identified in Period 2 based on the scattering efficiency of PM1 mass. Period 3 (from 10:00 LT on 15 October to 00:00 LT on 16 October) had a low PM1/PM10 ratio and a new particle formation event. The comparison of these sub-periods highlights the influence of particle mixing state on aerosol optical properties. We directly observed the influence of regionally transported pollutants on local aerosol properties and demonstrate that the PM mass extinction efficiency is largely determined by the mixing states of the aerosol.

Final-revised paper