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Characterization of carbonaceous fractions in PM2.5 and PM10 over a typical industrial city in central China

Zhan, Changlin, Zhang, Jiaquan, Zheng, Jingru, Yao, Ruizhen, Wang, Ping, Liu, Hongxia, Xiao, Wensheng, Liu, Xianli, Cao, Junji
Environmental science and pollution research international 2019 v.26 no.17 pp. 16855-16867
United States Environmental Protection Agency, aerosols, air pollution, air quality, autumn, biomass, burning, coal, combustion, emissions, meteorological parameters, organic carbon, particulates, photochemistry, pollutants, reflectance, seasonal variation, soot, spring, summer, tracer techniques, winter, China
Aerosol samples of PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀ were collected every 6 days from March 2012 to February 2013 in Huangshi, a typical industrial city in central China, to investigate the characteristics, relationships, and sources of carbonaceous species. The PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀ samples were analyzed for organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), char, and soot using the thermal/optical reflectance (TOR) method following the IMPROVE_A protocol. PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀ concentrations ranged from 29.37 to 501.43 μg m⁻³ and from 50.42 to 330.07 μg m⁻³, with average levels of 104.90 and 151.23 μg m⁻³, respectively. The 24-h average level of PM₂.₅ was about three times the US EPA standard of 35 μg m⁻³, and significantly exceeds the Class II National Air Quality Standard of China of 75 μg m⁻³. The seasonal cycles of PM mass and OC concentrations were higher during winter than in summer. EC and char concentrations were generally highest during winter but lowest in spring, while higher soot concentrations occurred in summer. This seasonal variation could be attributed to different seasonal meteorological conditions and changes in source contributions. Strong correlations between OC and EC were found for both PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀ in winter and fall, while char and soot showed a moderate correlation in summer and winter. The average OC/EC ratios were 5.11 and 4.46 for PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀, respectively, with individual OC/EC ratios nearly always exceeding 2.0. Higher char/soot ratios during the four seasons indicated that coal combustion and biomass burning were the major sources for carbonaceous aerosol in Huangshi. Contrary to expectations, secondary organic carbon (SOC) which is estimated using the EC tracer method exhibited spring maximum and summer minimum, suggesting that photochemical activity is not a leading factor in the formation of secondary organic aerosols in the study area. The contribution of SOC to OC concentration for PM₂.₅ and PM₁₀ were 47.33 and 45.38%, respectively, implying that SOC was an important component of OC mass. The serious air pollution in haze-fog episode was strongly correlated with the emissions of pollutants from biomass burning and the meteorological conditions.