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Photochemical Aqueous-Phase Reactions Induce Rapid Daytime Formation of Oxygenated Organic Aerosol on the North China Plain

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Su,  Hang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Cheng,  Yafang
Multiphase Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Kuang, Y., He, Y., Xu, W., Yuan, B., Zhang, G., Ma, Z., et al. (2020). Photochemical Aqueous-Phase Reactions Induce Rapid Daytime Formation of Oxygenated Organic Aerosol on the North China Plain. Environmental Science & Technology, 54(7), 3849-3860. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b06836.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-4D1D-4
Abstract
Secondary organic aerosol (SOA) constitutes a large fraction of organic aerosol worldwide, however, the formation mechanisms in polluted environments remain poorly understood. Here we observed fast daytime growth of oxygenated organic aerosol (OOA) (with formation rates up to 10 μg m–3 h–1) during low relative humidity (RH, daytime average 38 ± 19%), high RH (53 ± 19%), and fog periods (77 ± 13%, fog occurring during nighttime with RH reaching 100%). Evidence showed that photochemical aqueous-phase SOA (aqSOA) formation dominantly contributed to daytime OOA formation during the periods with nighttime fog, while both photochemical aqSOA and gas-phase SOA (gasSOA) formation were important during other periods with the former contributing more under high RH and the latter under low RH conditions, respectively. Compared to daytime photochemical aqSOA production, dark aqSOA formation was only observed during the fog period and contributed negligibly to the increase in OOA concentrations due to fog scavenging processes. The rapid daytime aging, as indicated by the rapid decrease in m,p-xylene/ethylbenzene ratios, promoted the daytime formation of precursors for aqSOA formation, e.g., carbonyls such as methylglyoxal. Photooxidants related to aqSOA formation such as OH radical and H2O2 also bear fast daytime growth features even under low solar radiative conditions. The simultaneous increases in ultraviolet radiation, photooxidant, and aqSOA precursor levels worked together to promote the daytime photochemical aqSOA formation. We also found that biomass burning emissions can promote photochemical aqSOA formation by adding to the levels of aqueous-phase photooxidants and aqSOA precursors. Therefore, future mitigation of air pollution in a polluted environment would benefit from stricter control on biomass burning especially under high RH conditions.