Articles | Volume 18, issue 16
Research article
16 Aug 2018
Research article |  | 16 Aug 2018

Nitrogen isotope fractionation during gas-to-particle conversion of NOx to NO3 in the atmosphere – implications for isotope-based NOx source apportionment

Yunhua Chang, Yanlin Zhang, Chongguo Tian, Shichun Zhang, Xiaoyan Ma, Fang Cao, Xiaoyan Liu, Wenqi Zhang, Thomas Kuhn, and Moritz F. Lehmann

Related authors

Chemical and optical properties of carbonaceous aerosols in Nanjing, eastern China: regionally transported biomass burning contribution
Xiaoyan Liu, Yan-Lin Zhang, Yiran Peng, Lulu Xu, Chunmao Zhu, Fang Cao, Xiaoyao Zhai, M. Mozammel Haque, Chi Yang, Yunhua Chang, Tong Huang, Zufei Xu, Mengying Bao, Wenqi Zhang, Meiyi Fan, and Xuhui Lee
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 19, 11213–11233,,, 2019
Short summary
First long-term and near real-time measurement of trace elements in China's urban atmosphere: temporal variability, source apportionment and precipitation effect
Yunhua Chang, Kan Huang, Mingjie Xie, Congrui Deng, Zhong Zou, Shoudong Liu, and Yanlin Zhang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 11793–11812,,, 2018
Short summary
Assessment of carbonaceous aerosols in Shanghai, China – Part 1: long-term evolution, seasonal variations, and meteorological effects
Yunhua Chang, Congrui Deng, Fang Cao, Chang Cao, Zhong Zou, Shoudong Liu, Xuhui Lee, Jun Li, Gan Zhang, and Yanlin Zhang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 9945–9964,,, 2017
Short summary
Source apportionment of atmospheric ammonia before, during, and after the 2014 APEC summit in Beijing using stable nitrogen isotope signatures
Yunhua Chang, Xuejun Liu, Congrui Deng, Anthony J. Dore, and Guoshun Zhuang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 11635–11647,,, 2016
Short summary
The importance of vehicle emissions as a source of atmospheric ammonia in the megacity of Shanghai
Yunhua Chang, Zhong Zou, Congrui Deng, Kan Huang, Jeffrey L. Collett, Jing Lin, and Guoshun Zhuang
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 16, 3577–3594,,, 2016
Short summary

Related subject area

Subject: Aerosols | Research Activity: Field Measurements | Altitude Range: Troposphere | Science Focus: Chemistry (chemical composition and reactions)
Roles of marine biota in the formation of atmospheric bioaerosols, cloud condensation nuclei, and ice-nucleating particles over the North Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea, and Arctic Ocean
Kaori Kawana, Fumikazu Taketani, Kazuhiko Matsumoto, Yutaka Tobo, Yoko Iwamoto, Takuma Miyakawa, Akinori Ito, and Yugo Kanaya
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 24, 1777–1799,,, 2024
Short summary
Evolution of nucleophilic high molecular-weight organic compounds in ambient aerosols: a case study
Chen He, Hanxiong Che, Zier Bao, Yiliang Liu, Qing Li, Miao Hu, Jiawei Zhou, Shumin Zhang, Xiaojiang Yao, Quan Shi, Chunmao Chen, Yan Han, Lingshuo Meng, Xin Long, Fumo Yang, and Yang Chen
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 24, 1627–1639,,, 2024
Short summary
Fractional solubility of iron in mineral dust aerosols over coastal Namibia: a link to marine biogenic emissions?
Karine Desboeufs, Paola Formenti, Raquel Torres-Sánchez, Kerstin Schepanski, Jean-Pierre Chaboureau, Hendrik Andersen, Jan Cermak, Stefanie Feuerstein, Benoit Laurent, Danitza Klopper, Andreas Namwoonde, Mathieu Cazaunau, Servanne Chevaillier, Anaïs Feron, Cécile Mirande-Bret, Sylvain Triquet, and Stuart J. Piketh
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 24, 1525–1541,,, 2024
Short summary
Real-world observations of reduced nitrogen and ultrafine particles in commercial cooking organic aerosol emissions
Sunhye Kim, Jo Machesky, Drew R. Gentner, and Albert A. Presto
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 24, 1281–1298,,, 2024
Short summary
Source apportionment of PM2.5 in Montréal, Canada, and health risk assessment for potentially toxic elements
Nansi Fakhri, Robin Stevens, Arnold Downey, Konstantina Oikonomou, Jean Sciare, Charbel Afif, and Patrick L. Hayes
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 24, 1193–1212,,, 2024
Short summary

Cited articles

Alexander, B., Hastings, M. G., Allman, D. J., Dachs, J., Thornton, J. A., and Kunasek, S. A.: Quantifying atmospheric nitrate formation pathways based on a global model of the oxygen isotopic composition (Δ17O) of atmospheric nitrate, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 9, 5043–5056,, 2009.
Altieri, K. E., Hastings, M. G., Gobel, A. R., Peters, A. J., and Sigman, D. M.: Isotopic composition of rainwater nitrate at Bermuda: the influence of air mass source and chemistry in the marine boundary layer, J. Geophys. Res., 118, 11304–311316,, 2013.
Anenberg, S. C., Miller, J., Minjares, R., Du, L., Henze, D. K., Lacey, F., Malley, C. S., Emberson, L., Franco, V., Klimont, Z., and Heyes, C.: Impacts and mitigation of excess diesel-related NOx emissions in 11 major vehicle markets, Nature, 545, 467–471,, 2017.
Böhlke, J. K., Mroczkowski, S. J., and Coplen, T. B.: Oxygen isotopes in nitrate: new reference materials for 18O : 17O : 16O measurements and observations on nitrate-water equilibration, Rapid Commun. Mass Sp., 17, 1835–1846,, 2003.
Cao, F., Zhang, S. C., Kawamura, K., and Zhang, Y. L.: Inorganic markers, carbonaceous components and stable carbon isotope from biomass burning aerosols in Northeast China, Sci. Total Environ., 572, 1244–1251,, 2016.
Short summary
We demonstrate that it is imperative that future studies, making use of isotope mixing models to gain conclusive constraints on the source partitioning of atmospheric NOx, consider this N isotope fractionation. Future assessments of NOx emissions in China (and elsewhere) should involve simultaneous δ15N and δ18O measurements of atmospheric nitrate and NOx at high spatiotemporal resolution, allowing former N-isotope-based NOx source partitioning estimates to be reevaluated more quantitatively.
Final-revised paper