Tracer-based source apportioning of atmospheric organic carbon and the influence of anthropogenic emissions on secondary organic aerosol formation in Hong Kong

Yubo Cheng, Yiqiu Ma, DI Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Here we conducted comprehensive chemical characterization and source apportionment of 49 PM2.5 samples collected in Hong Kong. Besides the major aerosol constituents, 39 polar organic species, including 14 secondary organic aerosol (SOA) tracers of isoprene, monoterpenes, β-caryophyllene, and naphthalene, were quantified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Six factors, i.e., SOA, secondary sulfate (SS), biomass burning (BB)/SOA, sea salt, marine vessels, and vehicle emissions, were apportioned by positive matrix factorization (PMF) as the major sources of ambient organic carbon (OC) in Hong Kong. The secondary formation, including OC from SOA, SS, and aging of BB plume, was the leading contributor to OC (51.4μ%, 2.15±1.37μCm-3) throughout the year. We then applied a tracer-based method (TBM) to estimate the SOA formation from the photo-oxidation of four selected precursors, and monoterpene SOA was the most abundant. A Kintecus kinetic model was used to examine the formation channels of isoprene SOA, and the aerosol-phase ring-opening reaction of isoprene epoxydiols (IEPOXs) was found to be the dominant formation pathway. Consistently, IEPOX tracers contributed 94μ% to total GC-MS-quantified isoprene SOA tracers. The TBM-estimated secondary organic carbon (SOCTBM) and PMF-apportioned SOC (SOCPMF) showed similar temporal trends; however, SOCTBM only accounted for 26.5μ% of SOCPMF, indicating a large fraction of ambient SOA was from other reaction pathways or precursors. Results of Pearson's R and multivariate linear regression analysis showed that NOx processing played a key role in both daytime and nighttime SOA production in the region. Moreover, sulfate had a significant positive linear relationship with SOCPMF and SS-related SOC, and particle acidity was significantly correlated with SOC from the aging of BB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10589-10608
Number of pages20
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume21
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jul 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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