Water-soluble matter in PM2.5 in a coastal city over China: Chemical components, optical properties, and source analysis

Lin Du , Yanan Zhan , Narcisse T. Tsona , Jianlong Li , Qingcai Chen , Maofa Ge , Yujing Mu , Jianmin Chen , Min Shao , Zifa Wang


Received May 18, 2021,Revised , Accepted July 09, 2021, Available online January 15, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 21-36

Although marine and terrestrial emissions simultaneously affect the formation of atmospheric fine particles in coastal areas, knowledge on the optical properties and sources of water-soluble matter in these areas is still scarce. In this work, taking Qingdao, China as a typical coastal location, the chemical composition of PM2.5 during winter 2019 was analyzed. Excitation-emission matrix fluorescence spectroscopy was combined with parallel factor analysis model to explain the components of water-soluble atmospheric chromophores of PM2.5. Our analysis indicated that NO3, NH4+ and SO42− ions accounted for 86.80% of the total ion mass, dominated by NO3. The ratio of [NO3]/[SO42−] was up to 2.42 ± 0.84, suggesting that mobile sources play an important role in local pollutants emission. The result of positive correlation between Abs365 with K+ suggests that biomass burning is an important source of water-soluble organic compounds (WSOC). Six types of fluorophores (C1-C6), all humic-like substances, were identified in WSOC. Humification index, biological index and fluorescence index in winter were 1.66 ± 0.34, 0.51 ± 0.44 and 1.09 ± 0.78, respectively, indicating that WSOC in Qingdao were mainly terrestrial organic matters. Overall, although the study area is close to the ocean, the contribution of terrestrial sources to PM2.5, especially vehicle exhaust and coal combustion, is still much higher than that of marine sources. Our study provides a more comprehensive understanding of chemical and optical properties of WSOC based on PM2.5 in coastal areas, and may provide ground for improving local air quality.

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