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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.

  10 Aug 2020

10 Aug 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Characteristics, primary sources and secondary formation of water soluble organic aerosols in downtown Beijing

Qing Yu1,2, Jing Chen1,2, Weihua Qin1,2, Siming Cheng1,2, Yuepeng Zhang1,2, Yuewei Sun1,2, Ke Xin1,2, and Mushtaq Ahmad1,2 Qing Yu et al.
  • 1State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • 2Center of Atmospheric Environmental Studies, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Abstract. Water soluble organic compounds (WSOC) account for a large proportion of aerosols and play a critical role in various atmospheric chemical processes. In order to investigate the primary sources and secondary production of WSOC in downtown Beijing, the day and night PM2.5 samples in January (winter), April (spring), July (summer) and October (autumn) of 2017 were collected and analyzed for WSOC and organic tracers in this study. WSOC showed the highest concentration in winter and comparable levels in the other seasons, and dominated by its hydrophobic fraction (HULIS-C). Some typical organic tracers were chosen to evaluate the emission strength and secondary formation for the major sources of WSOC. According to the diurnal patterns and correlation coefficients with the key influencing factors, most SOA tracers were closely related to gaseous photooxidation in summer, but mainly generated via aqueous-phase processing in other seasons. These organic tracers were applied into the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model to calculate the source contributions of WSOC as well as its hydrophobic and hydrophilic portions. The secondary sources contributed over 50 % to WSOC, with higher contributions in summer (75.7 %) and winter (67.7 %), and the largest contributor was aromatic SOC. Besides, the source apportionment results under different pollution levels suggested that controlling biomass burning and the aromatic precursors would be effective to reduce WSOC during the haze episodes in cold seasons. The possible formation mechanisms of the total secondary organic carbon (SOC) as well as hydrophobic and hydrophilic SOC were also explored in this study. The aqueous-phase process appeared to dominate in the SOC formation in winter and spring, while gas-phase photooxidation played a dominant role in summer. Besides, the gaseous photooxidation played a major role in the generation of hydrophobic SOC, whereas aqueous-phase reactions posed vital effects on the formation of hydrophilic SOC.

Qing Yu et al.

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Qing Yu et al.


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