11 Nov 2019

11 Nov 2019

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal ACP and is expected to appear here in due course.

Urban organic aerosol composition in Eastern China differs from North to South: Molecular insight from a liquid chromatography-Orbitrap mass spectrometry study

Kai Wang1,2,4, Ru-Jin Huang1, Martin Brüggemann3, Yun Zhang2, Lu Yang1, Haiyan Ni1, Jie Guo1, Meng Wang1, Jiajun Han5, Merete Bilde4, Marianne Glasius4, and Thorsten Hoffmann2 Kai Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology (SKLLQG), Center for Excellence in Quaternary Science and Global Change, and Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an 710061, China
  • 2Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Duesbergweg 10–14, Mainz 55128, Germany
  • 3Atmospheric Chemistry Department (ACD), Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research (TROPOS), Permoserstraße 15, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 4Department of Chemistry, Aarhus University, Langelandsgade 140, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
  • 5Department of Chemistry, University of Toronto, 80 St. George Street, M5S3H6 Toronto, Canada

Abstract. Particulate air pollution in China is influencing human health, ecosystem and climate. However, the chemical composition of particulate aerosol, especially of the organic fraction, is still not well understood. In this study, particulate aerosol samples with a diameter ≤ 2.5 μm (PM2.5) were collected in January 2014 in three cities located in Northeast, East and Southeast China, i.e., Changchun, Shanghai and Guangzhou, respectively. Organic aerosol (OA) in the PM2.5 samples was analyzed by ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled to high-resolution Orbitrap mass spectrometry in both negative mode (ESI−) and positive mode electrospray ionization (ESI+). After a non-target screening including molecular formula assignments, compounds were classified into five groups based on their elemental composition, i.e., CHO, CHON, CHN, CHOS and CHONS. The CHO, CHON and CHN compounds present the dominant signal abundances of 81–99.7 % in the mass spectra and the majority of these compounds were assigned to mono- and polyaromatics, suggesting that anthropogenic emissions are a large source of urban OA in all three cities. However, the chemical characteristics of these compounds varied among different cities. The degree of aromaticity and the number of polyaromatic compounds were significantly higher in samples from Changchun, which could be attributed to the large emissions from residential heating (i.e., coal combustion) during winter time in Northeast China. Moreover, the ESI− analysis showed higher H / C and O / C ratios for organic compounds in Shanghai and Guangzhou compared to samples from Changchun, indicating that OA in lower latitude regions of China experiences more intense photochemical oxidation processes. The majority of sulfur-containing compounds (CHOS and CHONS) in all cities were assigned to aliphatic compounds with low degrees of unsaturation and aromaticity. Again, samples from Shanghai and Guangzhou exhibit a larger chemical similarity but largely differ from those from Changchun.

Kai Wang et al.

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Status: closed
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Kai Wang et al.


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Short summary
Here we present the detailed molecular composition of the organic aerosol collected in three Eastern Chinese cities from North to South: Changchun, Shanghai and Guangzhou by applying LC-Orbitrap analysis. Accordingly, the aromaticity degree of chemical compounds decreases from North city to South city, while the oxidation degree increases from North city to South city, which can be explained by the different anthropogenic emissions and photochemical oxidation processes.