Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-959
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-959

  23 Dec 2021

23 Dec 2021

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

Measurement report: Ambient volatile organic compounds (VOCs) pollution at urban Beijing: characteristics, sources, and implications for pollution control

Lulu Cui1, Di Wu1, Shuxiao Wang1,2, Qingcheng Xu1, Ruolan Hu1, and Jiming Hao1,2 Lulu Cui et al.
  • 1State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 2State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Sources and Control of Air Pollution Complex, Beijing 100084, China

Abstract. The increasing ozone (O3) pollution and high fraction of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) in fine particle mass highlighted the importance of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in air pollution control. In this work, a campaign of comprehensive field observations was conducted at an urban site in Beijing, from December 2018 to November 2019, to identify the composition, sources, and secondary transformation potential of VOCs. The total mixing ratio of the 95 quantified VOCs (TVOC) observed in this study ranged from 5.5–118.7 ppbv with the mean value of 34.9 ppbv, and the contemporaneous mixing ratios of TVOC was significantly lower than those observed in 2014 and 2016, confirming the effectiveness of VOCs emission control measures in Beijing in recent years. Alkanes, OVOCs and halocarbons were the dominant chemical groups, accounting for 75–81 % of the TVOCs across the sampling months. High and low-O3/PM2.5 months as well as several O3/PM2.5 polluted days were identified during the sampling period. By deweathered calculation, we found that high O3/PM2.5 levels were due to both enhanced precursor emission levels and meteorological conditions favorable to O3 and PM2.5 production. The molar ratios of VOCs to NOX indicated that O3 formation was limited by VOCs during the whole sampling period. Diesel exhaust and industrial emission were identified as the major VOCs sources on both O3-polluted and PM2.5-polluted days based on positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis, accounting for 46 % and 53 %, respectively. Moreover, higher proportion of oil/gas evaporation was observed on O3-polluted days (18 %) than that on O3-clean days (13 %), and higher proportion of coal/biomass combustion was observed on PM2.5-polluted days (18 %) than that on PM2.5-clean days (13 %). On the base of O3 formation impact, VOCs from fuel evaporation and diesel exhaust particularly toluene, xylenes, trans-2-butene, acrolein, methyl methacrylate, vinyl acetate, 1-butene and 1-hexene were the main contributors, illustrating the necessity of conducting emission controls on these pollution sources and species for alleviating O3 pollution. Instead, VOCs from diesel exhaust and coal/biomass combustion were found to be the dominant contributors for secondary organic aerosol formation potential (SOAFP), particularly the VOC species of toluene, 1-hexene, xylenes, ethylbenzene and styrene, and top priority should be given to these for the alleviation of haze pollution. The positive matrix factorization (PSCF) analysis showed that O3 and PM2.5 pollution was mainly affected by local emissions. This study provides insights for government to formulate effective VOCs control measures for air pollution in Beijing.

Lulu Cui et al.

Status: open (until 14 Feb 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on acp-2021-959', Anonymous Referee #1, 17 Jan 2022 reply

Lulu Cui et al.

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Short summary
A one-year campaign was conducted to characterize VOCs at an urban site in Beijing during different episodes. VOCs from fuel evaporation and diesel exhaust particularly toluene, xylenes, trans-2-butene, acrolein, methyl methacrylate, vinyl acetate, 1-butene and 1-hexene were the main contributors. VOCs from diesel exhaust and coal/biomass combustion were found to be the dominant contributors for SOAFP, particularly the VOC species of toluene, 1-hexene, xylenes, ethylbenzene and styrene.
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