Atmospheric Particle Hygroscopicity and the Influence by Oxidation State of Organic Aerosols in Urban Beijing

Shuo Liu , Sinan Zhang , Xiaojing Shen , Junying Sun , Yangmei Zhang , Xiaoye Zhang , Can Xia , Xinyao Hu , Junting Zhong , Jialing Wang


Received May 28, 2021,Revised , Accepted November 15, 2021, Available online February 23, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 544-556

A hygroscopic tandem differential mobility analyser (H-TDMA) was used to observe the size-resolved hygroscopic characteristics of submicron particles in January and April 2018 in urban Beijing. The probability distribution of the hygroscopic growth factor (HGF-PDF) in winter and spring usually showed a bimodal pattern, with more hygroscopic mode (MH) being more dominant. The seasonal variation in particle hygroscopicity was related to the origin of air mass, which received polluted southerly air masses in spring and clean northwesterly air masses in winter. Particles showed stronger hygroscopic behaviour during heavy pollution episodes (HPEs) with elevated concentrations of secondary aerosols, especially higher mass fraction of nitrate, which were indicated using the PM2.5 (particulate matter with diameter below 2.5 µm) mass concentration normalised by CO mass concentration. The hygroscopic parameter (κ) values were calculated using H-TDMA (κhtdma) and chemical composition (κchem). The closure study showed that κchem was overestimated in winter afternoon when compared with κhtdma, because the organic particle hygroscopic parameter (κorg) was overestimated in the calculations. It was influenced by the presence of a high concentration of hydrocarbon-like organic aerosol (HOA) with a weak water uptake ability. A positive relationship was observed between κorg and the ratio of oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA) and HOA, thereby indicating that the strong oxidation state enhanced the hygroscopicity of the particles. This study revealed the effect of local emission sources and secondary aerosol formation processes on particle hygroscopicity, which is of great significance for understanding the pollution formation mechanism in the North China Plain.

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