Recent Published Articles

Interannual evolution of the chemical composition, sources and processes of PM2.5 in Chengdu, China: Insights from observations in four winters

Gehui Wang , Junke Zhang , Jiaqi Li , Yunfei Su , Chunying Chen , Luyao Chen , Xiaojuan Huang , Fangzheng Wang , Yawen Huang


Received October 21, 2022,Revised , Accepted February 27, 2023, Available online March 07, 2023

Volume 36,2024,Pages 32-45

The air quality in China has improved significantly in the last decade and, correspondingly, the characteristics of PM2.5 have also changed. We studied the interannual variation of PM2.5 in Chengdu, one of the most heavily polluted megacities in southwest China, during the most polluted season (winter). Our results show that the mass concentrations of PM2.5 decreased significantly year-by-year, from 195.8 ± 91.0 µg/m3 in winter 2016 to 96.1 ± 39.3 µg/m3 in winter 2020. The mass concentrations of organic matter (OM), SO42−, NH4+ and NO3 decreased by 49.6%, 57.1%, 49.7% and 28.7%, respectively. The differential reduction in the concentrations of chemical components increased the contributions from secondary organic carbon and NO3 and there was a larger contribution from mobile sources. The contribution of OM and NO3 not only increased with increasing levels of pollution, but also increased year-by-year at the same level of pollution. Four sources of PM2.5 were identified: combustion sources, vehicular emissions, dust and secondary aerosols. Secondary aerosols made the highest contribution and increased year-by-year, from 40.6% in winter 2016 to 46.3% in winter 2020. By contrast, the contribution from combustion sources decreased from 14.4% to 8.7%. Our results show the effectiveness of earlier pollution reduction policies and emphasizes that priority should be given to key pollutants (e.g., OM and NO3) and sources (secondary aerosols and vehicular emissions) in future policies for the reduction of pollution in Chengdu during the winter months.

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