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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  21 Apr 2020

21 Apr 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Surface–atmosphere fluxes of volatile organic compounds in Beijing

W. Joe F. Acton1, Zhonghui Huang2, Brian Davison1, Will S. Drysdale3,4, Pingqing Fu5, Michael Hollaway1,6, Ben Langford7, James Lee3,4, Yanhui Liu8,9, Stefan Metzger10,11, Neil Mullinger7, Eiko Nemitz7, Claire E. Reeves8, Freya A. Squires3, Adam R. Vaughan3, Xinming Wang12, Zhaoyi Wang12, Oliver Wild1, Qiang Zhang13, Yanli Zhang12, and C. Nicholas Hewitt1 W. Joe F. Acton et al.
  • 1Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YQ, UK
  • 2State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution Health Risk Assessment, South China Institute of Environmental Science, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Guangzhou 510655, China
  • 3Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK
  • 4National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of York, York
  • 5Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Huayanli 40, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100029, China
  • 6UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Library Ave, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4AP, UK
  • 7UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian, EH26 0QB, UK
  • 8Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk, NR4 7TJ, UK
  • 9Peking University, 5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100871, China
  • 10National Ecological Observatory Network Program, Battelle, 1685 38th Street, Boulder, CO 80301, USA
  • 11Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 1225 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
  • 12State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Protection and Resources Utilization, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, China
  • 13Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modelling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Abstract. Air pollution in Beijing has a major impact on public health and is therefore of concern to both policy makers and the general public. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted from both anthropogenic and biogenic sources in urban environments and play an important role in atmospheric chemistry and hence atmospheric pollution through the formation of secondary organic aerosol and tropospheric ozone. Fluxes and mixing ratios of VOCs were recorded in two field campaigns as part of the Air Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese Megacity (APHH) project at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) meteorological tower in central Beijing. These measurements represent the first eddy covariance flux measurements of VOCs in Beijing giving a top down estimation of VOC emissions from a central area of the city. These were then used to validate the Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China (MEIC). The APHH winter and summer campaigns took place in November and December 2016 and May and June 2017 respectively.

The largest VOC fluxes observed were of small oxygenated compounds such as methanol, ethanol + formic acid and acetaldehyde, with average emission rates of 8.02, 3.88 and 1.76 nmol m−2 s−1 respectively recorded in the summer campaign. In addition a large flux of isoprene was observed in the summer with an average flux of 4.63 nmol m−2 s−1. While oxygenated VOCs made up 60 % of the molar VOC flux measured, when fluxes were scaled by ozone formation potential and peroxyacyl nitrate (PAN) formation potential the high reactivity of isoprene and monoterpenes meant that these species represented 30 and 28 % of the flux contribution to ozone and PAN formation potential respectively. Comparison of measured fluxes with the emission inventory showed that the inventory failed to capture VOC emission at the local scale.

W. Joe F. Acton et al.

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W. Joe F. Acton et al.

W. Joe F. Acton et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
Air quality in Beijing is of concern to both policy makers and the general public. In order to address concerns about air quality it is vital that the sources of atmospheric pollutants are understood. This work presents the first top-down measurement of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in Beijing. These measurements are used to validate the emissions inventory and assess the impact of VOC emission from the city centre on atmospheric chemistry.
Air quality in Beijing is of concern to both policy makers and the general public. In order to...