Insight into winter haze formation mechanisms based on aerosol hygroscopicity and effective density measurements
Abstract. We characterize a representative particulate matter (PM) episode that occurred in Shanghai during winter 2014. Particle size distribution, hygroscopicity, effective density, and single particle mass spectrometry were determined online, along with offline analysis of water-soluble inorganic ions. The mass ratio of SNA ∕ PM1. 0 (sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium) fluctuated slightly around 0.28, suggesting that both secondary inorganic compounds and carbonaceous aerosols contributed substantially to the haze formation, regardless of pollution level. Nitrate was the most abundant ionic species during hazy periods, indicating that NOx contributed more to haze formation in Shanghai than did SO2. During the representative PM episode, the calculated PM was always consistent with the measured PM1. 0, indicating that the enhanced pollution level was attributable to the elevated number of larger particles. The number fraction of the near-hydrophobic group increased as the PM episode developed, indicating the accumulation of local emissions. Three
banana-shaped particle evolutions were consistent with the rapid increase of PM1. 0 mass loading, indicating that the rapid size growth by the condensation of condensable materials was responsible for the severe haze formation. Both hygroscopicity and effective density of the particles increased considerably with growing particle size during the banana-shaped evolutions, indicating that the secondary transformation of NOx and SO2 was one of the most important contributors to the particle growth. Our results suggest that the accumulation of gas-phase and particulate pollutants under stagnant meteorological conditions and subsequent rapid particle growth by secondary processes were primarily responsible for the haze pollution in Shanghai during wintertime.