1Institute of Environmental Pollution and Health, Shanghai University, 200072 Shanghai, China
2China National Research Center for Enironmental Analysis and Measurements, 100029 Beijing, China
3Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, 100012 Beijing, China
4Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Antwerp (Campus Drie Eiken), 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
5Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 510640 Guangzhou, China
Abstract. Photooxidation products of biogenic volatile organic compounds, mainly isoprene and monoterpenes, are significant sources of atmospheric particulate matter in forested regions. The objectives of this study were to examine time series and diel variations of polar organic tracers for the photooxidation of isoprene and α-pinene to investigate whether they are linked with meteorological parameters or trace gases, and to determine their carbon contributions. In addition, the biogenic secondary organic carbon contributions from isoprene were estimated. PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <2.5 μm) aerosol samples were collected from forests in eastern China and compared with data from forested sites in Europe and America. Aerosol sampling was conducted at four sites located along a gradient of ecological succession in four different regions, i.e. Changbai Mountain Nature Reserve (boreal-temperate), Chongming National Forest Park (temperate), Dinghu Mountain Nature Reserve (subtropical) and Jianfengling Nature Reserve in Hainan (tropical) during summer periods when the meteorological conditions are believed to be favorable for photochemical processes. Fifty PM2.5 samples were collected; eighteen organic compounds, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon and trace gases were measured. Results indicate that the concentration trends of the secondary organic compounds reflected those of the trace gases and meteorological parameters. Very good correlations between the sum concentrations of isoprene oxidation products and atmospheric SO2, O3, NO2, NOx, as well as CO2, at the Changbai site were found. The secondary OC due to isoprene was relatively high in tropical Hainan (0.27 μgC/m3) where isoprene-emitting broadleaf species are dominant, but was comparable in boreal Changbai (0.32 μgC/m3) where coniferous species are prevalent. The contribution of malic acid, which may have both biogenic and anthropogenic sources, to the OC mass was comparable at the four sites.