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Comprehensive understanding on sources of high levels of fine particulate nitro-aromatic compounds at a coastal rural area in northern China


Wenxing Wang , Yueru Jiang , Xinfeng Wang , Min Li , Yiheng Liang , Zhiyi Liu , Jing Chen , Tianyi Guan , Jiangshan Mu , Yujiao Zhu , He Meng , Yang Zhou , Lan Yao , Likun Xue

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2022.09.033

Received July 13, 2022,Revised , Accepted September 22, 2022, Available online October 04, 2022

Volume 36,2024,Pages 483-494

Nitro-aromatic compounds (NACs) are among the major components of brown carbon (BrC) in the atmosphere, causing negative impacts on regional climate, air quality, and ecological health. Due to the extensive origins, it is still a challenge to figure out the contributions and originating regions for different sources of atmospheric NACs. Here, field observations on fine particulate NACs were conducted at a coastal rural area in Qingdao, China in the winter of 2018 and 2019. The mean total concentrations of fine particulate nitro-aromatic compounds were 125.0 ± 89.5 and 27.7 ± 21.1 ng/m3 in the winter of 2018 and 2019, respectively. Among the measured eleven NACs, nitrophenols and nitrocatechols were the most abundant species. Variation characteristics and correlation analysis showed that humidity and anthropogenic primary emissions had significant influences on the NAC abundances. In this study, two tracing methods of the improved spatial concentration weighted trajectory (SCWT) model and the receptor model of positive matrix factorization (PMF) were combined to comprehensively understand the origins of NACs in fine particles at coastal Qingdao. Four major sources were identified, including coal combustion, biomass burning, vehicle exhaust, and secondary formation. Surprisingly, coal combustion was responsible for about half of the observed nitro-aromatic compounds, followed by biomass burning (∼30%). The results by SCWT demonstrated that the coal combustion dominated NACs mainly originated from the Shandong peninsula and the areas to the north and southwest, while those dominated by biomass burning primarily came from local Qingdao and the areas to the west.

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