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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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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.

  24 Sep 2020

24 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Ambient Nitro-Aromatic Compounds – Biomass Burning versus Secondary Formation in rural China

Christian Mark Garcia Salvador1, Rongzhi Tang2, Michael Priestley1, Lin Jie Li1, Epameinondas Tsiligiannis1, Michael Le Breton1,a, Wenfei Zhu3, Limin Zeng1, Hui Wang1, Ying Yu1, Min Hu1, Song Guo2,4, and Mattias Hallquist1 Christian Mark Garcia Salvador et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 3Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shanghai 200233, China
  • 4International Joint Laboratory for Regional Pollution Control, Ministry of Education, Beijing, 100871, China P. R
  • anow at: Volvo Group Trucks and Technology Method and Technical Development, Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract. Nitro-aromatic compounds (NACs) were measured hourly at a rural site in China during wintertime to monitor the changes due to local and regional impacts of biomass burning (BB). Concurrent and continuous measurements of the concentrations of 16 NACs in the gas and particle phases were performed with a time-of-flight chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) equipped with a Filter Inlet for Gas and Aerosol (FIGAERO) unit using iodide as the reagent ion. NACs accounted for < 2 % of the mass concentration of organic matter (OM) and total particulate matter (PM), but the total particle mass concentrations of these compounds can reach as high as 1000 ng m−3 (299 ng m−3 ave.), suggesting that they may contribute significantly to the radiative forcing effects of atmospheric particles. Levels of gas-phase NACs were highest during the daytime (15:00–16:00 local time, L.T.), with a smaller night-time peak around 20:00 L.T. Box-model simulations showed that this occurred because the rate of NAC production from gas-phase sources exceeded the rate of loss, which occurred mainly via the OH reaction and to a lesser degree via photolysis. Data gathered during extended periods with high contributions from primary BB sources (resulting in 40–60 % increases in NAC concentrations) were used to characterize individual NACs with respect to gas-particle partitioning and the contributions of regional secondary processes (i.e. photochemical smog). On days without extensive BB, secondary formation was the dominant source of NACs and NAC levels correlated strongly with the ambient ozone concentration. Analyses of individual NACs in the regionally aged plumes sampled on these days allowed precursors such as phenol and catechol to be linked to their NAC derivatives (i.e. nitrophenol and nitrocatechol). Correlation analysis using the high time resolution data and box-model simulation results constrained the relationships between these compounds and demonstrated the contribution of secondary formation processes. Furthermore, 13 of 16 NACS were classified according to primary or secondary formation process. Primary emission was the dominant source (accounting for 60–70 % of the measured concentrations) of 5 of the 16 studied NACs, but secondary formation was also a significant source. Photochemical smog thus has important effects on brown carbon levels even during wintertime periods dominated by primary air pollution in rural China.

Christian Mark Garcia Salvador et al.

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Christian Mark Garcia Salvador et al.

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Short summary
High time frequency on-line measurement of gas- and particle- phase nitro-aromatic compounds (NACs) in a rural site in China, heavily influenced by biomass burning events; enabled the analysis of production pathway of NACs, including explanation of strong persistence in daytime. The contribution of secondary processes was significant even during dominant wintertime influence of primary emissions, suggesting the important role of regional secondary chemistry, i.e. photochemical smog.
High time frequency on-line measurement of gas- and particle- phase nitro-aromatic compounds...