Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic

Journal metrics

Journal metrics

  • IF value: 5.509 IF 5.509
  • IF 5-year value: 5.689 IF 5-year 5.689
  • CiteScore value: 5.44 CiteScore 5.44
  • SNIP value: 1.519 SNIP 1.519
  • SJR value: 3.032 SJR 3.032
  • IPP value: 5.37 IPP 5.37
  • h5-index value: 86 h5-index 86
  • Scimago H index value: 161 Scimago H index 161
Volume 18, issue 3 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 1729-1743, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 06 Feb 2018

Research article | 06 Feb 2018

Volatility measurement of atmospheric submicron aerosols in an urban atmosphere in southern China

Li-Ming Cao1, Xiao-Feng Huang1, Yuan-Yuan Li1, Min Hu2, and Ling-Yan He1 Li-Ming Cao et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Urban Habitat Environmental Science and Technology, School of Environment and Energy, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen, 518055, China
  • 2State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China

Abstract. Aerosol pollution has been a very serious environmental problem in China for many years. The volatility of aerosols can affect the distribution of compounds in the gas and aerosol phases, the atmospheric fates of the corresponding components, and the measurement of the concentration of aerosols. Compared to the characterization of chemical composition, few studies have focused on the volatility of aerosols in China. In this study, a thermodenuder aerosol mass spectrometer (TD-AMS) system was deployed to study the volatility of non-refractory submicron particulate matter (PM1) species during winter in Shenzhen. To our knowledge, this paper is the first report of the volatilities of aerosol chemical components based on a TD-AMS system in China. The average PM1 mass concentration during the experiment was 42.7±20.1µg m−3, with organic aerosol (OA) being the most abundant component (43.2% of the total mass). The volatility of chemical species measured by the AMS varied, with nitrate showing the highest volatility, with a mass fraction remaining (MFR) of 0.57 at 50°C. Organics showed semi-volatile characteristics (the MFR was 0.88 at 50°C), and the volatility had a relatively linear correlation with the TD temperature (from the ambient temperature to 200°C), with an evaporation rate of 0.45% °C−1. Five subtypes of OA were resolved from total OA using positive matrix factorization (PMF) for data obtained under both ambient temperature and high temperatures through the TD, including a hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA, accounting for 13.5%), a cooking OA (COA, 20.6%), a biomass-burning OA (BBOA, 8.9%), and two oxygenated OAs (OOAs): a less-oxidized OOA (LO-OOA, 39.1%) and a more-oxidized OOA (MO-OOA, 17.9%). Different OA factors presented different volatilities, and the volatility sequence of the OA factors at 50°C was HOA (MFR of 0.56) > LO-OOA (0.70) > COA (0.85)  ≈  BBOA (0.87) > MO-OOA (0.99), which was not completely consistent with the sequence of their O ∕ C ratios. The high volatility of HOA implied that it had a high potential to be oxidized to secondary species in the gas phase. The aerosol volatility measurement results in this study provide useful parameters for the modeling work of aerosol evolution in China and are also helpful in understanding the formation mechanisms of secondary aerosols.

Download & links
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
A TD-AMS (thermodenuder aerosol mass spectrometer) system was deployed to study the volatility of non-refractory PM1 species during winter in Shenzhen, China. The volatility of chemical species measured with the AMS varied, with nitrate showing the highest volatility. Organics showed semi-volatile characteristics, and five subtypes of OA resolved by PMF modeling presented different volatilities. The results can contribute to the understanding of the formation and ageing of submicron aerosols.
A TD-AMS (thermodenuder aerosol mass spectrometer) system was deployed to study the volatility...