Intensified wintertime secondary inorganic aerosol formation during heavy haze pollution episodes (HPEs) in Beijing, China

Zhaoyang Meng , Lingyan Wu , Xiaoye Zhang , Junying Sun , Yu Wang , Junting Zhong , Maofa Ge , Yujing Mu , Jianmin Chen , Min Shao , Zifa Wang


Received May 26, 2021,Revised , Accepted January 07, 2022, Available online January 17, 2022

Volume 34,2022,Pages 503-513

Air pollution in China is complex, and the formation mechanism of chemical components in particulate matter is still unclear. This study selected three consecutive heavy haze pollution episodes (HPEs) during winter in Beijing for continuous field observation, including an episode with heavy air pollution under red alert. Clean days during the observation period were selected for comparison. The HPE characteristics of Beijing in winter were: under the influence of adverse meteorological conditions such as high relative humidity, temperature inversion and low wind speed; and strengthening of secondary transformation reactions, which further intensified the accumulation of secondary aerosols and other pollutants, promoting the explosive growth of PM2.5. PM2.5/CO values, as indicators of the contribution of secondary transformation in PM2.5, were approximately 2 times higher in the HPEs than the average PM2.5/CO during the clean period. The secondary inorganic aerosols (sulfate nitrate and ammonium salt) were significantly enhanced during the HPEs, and the conversion coefficients were remarkably improved. In addition, it is interesting to observe that the production of sulfate tended to exceed that of nitrate in the late stage of all three HPEs. The existence of aqueous phase reactions led to the explosive growth sulfur oxidation ratio (SOR) and rapid generation of sulfate under high relative humidity (RH>70%).

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