Atmospheric environment

Observed levels and trends of gaseous SO2 and HNO3 at Mt. Waliguan, China: Results from 1997 to 2009

Weili Lin , Xiaobin Xu , Xiaolan Yu , Xiaochun Zhang , Jianqing Huang


Received August 08, 2012,Revised October 30, 2012, Accepted , Available online April 04, 2013

Volume ,2013,Pages 726-734

Long-term measurements of SO2 and HNO3, particularly those from the background sites, are rarely reported. We present for the first time the long-term measurements of SO2 and HNO3 at Waliguan (WLG), the only global baseline station in the back-land of the Eurasian Continent. The concentrations of SO2 and HNO3 were observed at WLG from 1997 to 2009. The observed annual mean concentrations of SO2 and HNO3 at WLG were 1.28 ± 0.41 and 0.22 ± 0.19 μg/m3, respectively. The HNO3 concentrations were much higher in warmer seasons than in colder seasons, while the SO2 concentrations showed a nearly reversed seasonal pattern. In most months, the concentration of HNO3 was significantly correlated with that of SO2, suggesting that some common factors influence the variations of both gases and the precursors of HNO3 may partially be from the SO2-emitting sources. The SO2 concentration had a very significant (P < 0.0001) decreasing trend (-0.2 μg/(m3·yr)) in 1997-2002, but a significant (P < 0.05) increasing trend (+0.06 μg/(m3·yr)) in 2003-2009. The HNO3 concentration showed no statistically significant trend during 1997-2009. While the decrease of SO2 in 1997-2002 agrees with the trend of global SO2 emissions, the increase in 2003-2009 is not consistent with the decreasing trends in many other regions over the world. Trajectory analysis suggests that the airmasses from the northern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and the Takla Makan Desert regions contributed significantly to the increasing trends of SO2 and HNO3 at WLG in 2003-2009, with a rate of +0.13 μg/(m3·yr) and +0.007 μg/(m3·yr), respectively.

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