Ambient volatile organic compounds at a receptor site in the Pearl River Delta region: Variations, source apportionment and effects on ozone formation

Senchao Lai , Yao Meng , Junwei Song , Lewei Zeng , Yingyi Zhang , Yan Zhao , Xufei Liu , Hai Guo , Liuju Zhong , Yubo Ou , Yan Zhou , Tao Zhang , Dingli Yue


Received October 07, 2020,Revised , Accepted February 22, 2021, Available online March 23, 2021

Volume 34,2022,Pages 104-117

We present the continuously measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at a receptor site (Wan Qing Sha, WQS) in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region from September to November of 2017. The average mixing ratios of total VOCs (TVOCs) was 36.3 ± 27.9 ppbv with the dominant contribution from alkanes (55.5%), followed by aromatics (33.3%). The diurnal variation of TVOCs showed a strong photochemical consumption during daytime, resulting in the formation of ozone (O3). Five VOC sources were resolved by the positive matrix factorization (PMF) model, including solvent usage (28.6%), liquid petroleum gas (LPG) usage (24.4%), vehicle exhaust (21.0%), industrial emissions (13.2%) and gasoline evaporation (12.9%). The regional transport air masses from the upwind cities of south China can result in the elevated concentrations of TVOCs. Low ratios of TVOCs/NOx (1.53 ± 0.88) suggested that the O3 formation regime at WQS site was VOC-limited, which also confirmed by a photochemical box model with the master chemical mechanism (PBM-MCM). Furthermore, the observation on high-O3 episode days revealed that frequent O3 outbreaks at WQS were mainly caused by the regional transport of anthropogenic VOCs especially for aromatics and the subsequent photochemical reactions. This study provides valuable information for policymakers to propose the effective control strategies on photochemical pollution in a regional perspective.

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