Optical properties of atmospheric fine particles near Beijing during the HOPE-J3A campaign
Abstract. The optical properties and chemical composition of PM1.0 particles in a suburban environment (Huairou) near the megacity of Beijing were measured during the HOPE-J3A (Haze Observation Project Especially for Jing–Jin–Ji Area) field campaign. The campaign covered the period November 2014 to January 2015 during the winter coal heating season. The average values and standard deviations of the extinction, scattering, absorption coefficients, and the aerosol single scattering albedo (SSA) at λ = 470 nm during the measurement period were 201 ± 240, 164 ± 202, 37 ± 43 Mm−1, and 0.80 ± 0.08, respectively. The average values for the real and imaginary components of the effective complex refractive index (CRI) over the campaign were 1.40 ± 0.06 and 0.03 ± 0.02, while the average mass scattering and absorption efficiencies (MSEs and MAEs) of PM1.0 were 3.6 and 0.7 m2 g−1, respectively. Highly time-resolved air pollution episodes clearly show the dramatic evolution of the PM1.0 size distribution, extensive optical properties (extinction, scattering, and absorption coefficients), and intensive optical properties (SSA and CRI) during haze formation, development, and decline. Time periods were classified into three different pollution levels (clear, slightly polluted, and polluted) for further analysis. It was found that (1) the relative contributions of organic and inorganic species to observed aerosol composition changed significantly from clear to polluted days: the organic mass fraction decreased from 50 to 43 % while the proportion of sulfates, nitrates, and ammonium increased strongly from 34 to 44 %. (2) Chemical apportionment of extinction, calculated using the IMPROVE algorithm, tended to underestimate the extinction compared to measurements. Agreement with measurements was improved by modifying the parameters to account for enhanced absorption by elemental carbon (EC). Organic mass was the largest contributor (52 %) to the total extinction of PM1.0, while EC, despite its low mass concentration of ∼ 4 %, contributed about 17 % to extinction. When the air quality deteriorated, the contribution of nitrate aerosol increased significantly (from 15 % on clear days to 22 % on polluted days). (3) Under polluted conditions, the average MAEs of EC were up to 4 times as large as the reference MAE value for freshly generated black carbon (BC). The temporal pattern of MAE values was similar to that of the OC / EC ratio, suggesting that non-BC absorption from secondary organic aerosol also contributes to particle absorption.