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VOC characteristics, sources and contributions to SOA formation during haze events in Wuhan, Central China

Hui, Lirong, Liu, Xingang, Tan, Qinwen, Feng, Miao, An, Junling, Qu, Yu, Zhang, Yuanhang, Cheng, Nianliang
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.650 pp. 2624-2639
BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene), aerosols, benzene, biomass, burning, coatings, emissions, ethylbenzene, evaporation, local government, petroleum, photochemical reactions, pollution, solvents, toluene, volatile organic compounds, xylene, China
Based on detailed data on 102 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) measured continuously from 2016.10.9 to 2016.11.17 in Wuhan, the VOC characteristics, secondary organic aerosol (SOA) characteristics, SOA formation potential (SOAP), potential source regions, sources and contributions during different haze episodes were analyzed. The total VOC (TVOC) concentrations on clear days (visibility >10 km), slight haze days (visibility of 5–10 km), and severe haze days (visibility <5 km) were 34.87 ± 14.89 ppbv, 45.06 ± 26.69 ppbv, and 49.55 ± 24.82 ppbv, respectively. The SOAP on haze days (447.04 ± 253.85 ppbv) was significantly higher than that on clear days (300.62 ± 138.48 ppbv), and aromatics were the dominant contributors to SOA formation under different visibility conditions, accounting for approximately 97% of the total SOAP. The ratio of ethylbenzene to m/p-xylene (E/X) indicated that atmospheric photochemical reactions were slightly stronger on haze days. The ratio of toluene to benzene (T/B) indicated that vehicle exhaust had significant effects on VOCs, but no significant changes occurred during different haze episodes. The ratio of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes (BTEX) to CO indicated that VOCs from solvent usage in painting/coating and industrial emissions increased with increasing haze pollution. Based on backward trajectories and the potential source contribution function (PSCF), short-distance transport was the main source influencing VOC pollution, especially transport from the southwest. Seven sources were identified by positive matrix factorization (PMF): industrial sources, vehicular exhaust, solvent usage in painting/coating, fuel evaporation, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) usage, biogenic sources and biomass burning. Moreover, solvent usage in painting/coating, vehicle exhaust and LPG usage were the most important sources that significantly aggravated VOC pollution during haze events. The results can provide references for local governments developing control strategies of VOCs during haze pollution events.