Articles | Volume 5, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 3127–3137, 2005

Special issue: 8th International Conference on Carbonaceous Particles in...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 5, 3127–3137, 2005

  22 Nov 2005

22 Nov 2005

Characterization and source apportionment of atmospheric organic and elemental carbon during fall and winter of 2003 in Xi'an, China

J. J. Cao1, F. Wu1,2, J. C. Chow3, S. C. Lee4, Y. Li1, S. W. Chen5, Z. S. An1, K. K. Fung6, J. G. Watson3, C. S. Zhu1, and S. X. Liu1 J. J. Cao et al.
  • 1SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710075, China
  • 2The Graduate School of Chinese academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 3Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada, USA
  • 4The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
  • 5Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
  • 6Atmoslytic, Inc., Calabasas, CA, USA

Abstract. Continuous measurements of atmospheric organic and elemental carbon (OC and EC) were taken during the high-pollution fall and winter seasons at Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China from September 2003 through February 2004. Battery-powered mini-volume samplers collected PM2.5 samples daily and PM10 samples every third day. Samples were also obtained from the plumes of residential coal combustion, motor-vehicle exhaust, and biomass burning sources. These samples were analyzed for OC/EC by thermal/optical reflectance (TOR) following the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) protocol. OC and EC levels at Xi'an are higher than most urban cities in Asia. Average PM2.5 OC concentrations in fall and winter were 34.1±18.0 μg m−3 and 61.9±;33.2 μg m−3, respectively; while EC concentrations were 11.3±6.9 μg m−3 and 12.3±5.3 μg m−3, respectively. Most of the OC and EC were in the PM2.5 fraction. OC was strongly correlated (R>0.95) with EC in the autumn and moderately correlated (R=0.81) with EC during winter. Carbonaceous aerosol (OC×1.6+EC) accounted for 48.8%±10.1% of the PM2.5 mass during fall and 45.9±7.5% during winter. The average OC/EC ratio was 3.3 in fall and 5.1 in winter, with individual OC/EC ratios nearly always exceeding 2.0. The higher wintertime OC/EC corresponded to increased residential coal combustion for heating. Total carbon (TC) was associated with source contributions using absolute principal component analysis (APCA) with eight thermally-derived carbon fractions. During fall, 73% of TC was attributed to gasoline engine exhaust, 23% to diesel exhaust, and 4% to biomass burning. During winter, 44% of TC was attributed to gasoline engine exhaust, 44% to coal burning, 9% to biomass burning, and 3% to diesel engine exhaust.

Final-revised paper