Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-433
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-433

  15 Jul 2021

15 Jul 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Response of particle number concentrations to Clean Air Action: Lessons from the first long-term aerosol measurements in a typical urban valley, West China

Suping Zhao1,2,3, Ye Yu1,2, Jianglin Li1,2, Daiying Yin4,5, Shaofeng Qi1,5, and Dahe Qin3 Suping Zhao et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Land Surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2Pingliang Land Surface Process & Severe Weather Research Station, Pingliang, 744015, China
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 4Key Laboratory of Desert and Desertification, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 5University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

Abstract. The strictest ever Clean Air Action (CAA) has been implemented by Chinese government since 2013 to alleviate the severe haze pollution. The PM2.5 mass concentration was found to be largely reduced in response to emission mitigation policies, but response of particle number concentrations (PNCs) to CAA was less evaluated in the previous studies, which may be largely different from PM2.5 mass due to newly formed particle impacts. In this work, the first in-situ observation of particle number size distributions (PNSDs) during 2012–2019 in urban Lanzhou was used to analyze long-term PNCs variations and CAA impacts. The average number of particles in nucleation (N13–25, particle number in the size range of 13–25 nm), Aitken (N25–100, particle number in the size range of 25–100 nm) and accumulation (N100–800, particle number in the size range of 100–800 nm) modes were respectively 2514.0 cm−3, 10768.7 cm−3, and 3258.4 cm−3, and N25–100 accounted for about 65.1 % of total PNCs during the campaign. K-means clustering technique was used to classify the hourly mean PNSDs into six clusters, and each cluster corresponded to a specific source and influencing factor. The polluted clusters governed the winter PNCs before 2016, and their occurrence was less and less frequent after 2016, which was largely dominated by reduction in primary emissions. However, the contribution of new particle formation (NPF) events to summer N13–25 decreased from 50 % to about 10 % during 2013 to 2015, and then increased to reach around 60 % in 2019. The trends of size-resolved PNCs for each cluster were quantified by Theil-Sen regression. The size-segregated PNCs exhibited downward trends for all clusters during 2012–2015, especially in spring. The annual relative slopes of spring PNCs varied from −54.7 % to −17.2 %, −42.6 % to −14.1 %, and −40.7 % to −17.5 % per year for 13–25, 25–100, and 100–800 nm size ranges, and the reduction in the polluted clusters was much larger than NPF clusters. The ultrafine particle number was increased and the amplitude was much greater during 2016–2019. The annual relative slopes of N13–25 varied between 8.0 % in fall and 135.5 % in spring for NPF cluster. In response to CAA, the increased daytime net radiation, higher ambient temperature and lower relative humidity at noon for NPF events also could partly explain the higher N13–25 induced by the more frequent nucleation events after 2016, especially in spring. The air mass were mainly from the adjacent regions of urban Lanzhou and less affected by long-range transport for NPF events, and the thus particles were not easily grown by coagulation during transport processes, which was helpful for occurrence of NPF events. Therefore, some effective control measures cooperatively controlled particle number and mass should be took for the Chinese megacities.

Suping Zhao et al.

Status: open (until 26 Aug 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Suping Zhao et al.

Suping Zhao et al.

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Short summary
The large PM2.5 reduction in response to Clean Air Action (CAA), but impact of CAA on particle number concentrations (PNCs) may be different from PM2.5 mass due to newly formed particle impacts. K-means clustering technique and Theil-Sen regression were used to analyze PNCs variations and to quantify their trends. The increased daytime solar radiation, higher temperature and lower RH at noon induced by reduced PM2.5 mass promoted formation of new particles and thus increased particle number.
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