Articles | Volume 14, issue 6
Research article
26 Mar 2014
Research article |  | 26 Mar 2014

Understanding primary and secondary sources of ambient carbonyl compounds in Beijing using the PMF model

W. T. Chen, M. Shao, S. H. Lu, M. Wang, L. M. Zeng, B. Yuan, and Y. Liu

Abstract. Carbonyl compounds are important intermediates in atmospheric photochemistry. To explore the relative contributions of primary and secondary carbonyl sources, carbonyls and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were measured at an urban site in both winter and summer in Beijing. The positive matrix factorization (PMF) model was used for source apportionment of VOCs. As VOCs undergo photochemical processes in the atmosphere, and such processes may interfere with factor identification, the relationships between the contributions of the resolved PMF factors to each non-methane hydrocarbon (NMHC) species and its kOH value were used to distinguish fresh factors and photochemically aged factors. As the result of PMF, five factors were resolved in winter, and two of them were identified as photochemically aged emissions. In summer, four factors were resolved, including one aged factor. Carbonyls abundances from aged factors were simulated by VOCs consumption and the corresponding carbonyl production yields, and the simulated abundances agreed well with the results obtained by the PMF model. The source apportionment results indicated that secondary formation was the major source of carbonyls in both winter and summer, with the respective contributions of 51.2% and 46.0%. For the three major carbonyl species, primary anthropogenic sources contributed 28.9% and 32.3% to ambient formaldehyde, 53.7% and 41.6% to acetaldehyde, 68.1% and 56.2% to acetone in winter and summer, respectively.

Final-revised paper