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Molecular distributions of dicarboxylic acids, oxocarboxylic acids and $alpha $-dicarbonyls in PM$_2.5$ collected at the top of Mt. Tai, North China, during the wheat burning season of 2014: English

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  • Y. Zhu
  • L. Yang
  • J. Chen
  • K. Kawamura
  • M. Sato
  • A. Tilgner
  • D. van Pinxteren
  • Y. Chen
  • L. Xue
  • X. Wang
  • I. J. Simpson
  • H. Herrmann
  • D. R. Blake
  • W. Wang
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>27/07/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number14
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)10741-10758
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) samples collected at Mount (Mt.) Tai in the North China Plain during summer 2014 were analyzed for dicarboxylic acids and related compounds (oxocarboxylic acids and α-dicarbonyls) (DCRCs). The total concentration of DCRCs was 1050±580 and 1040±490ngm−3 during the day and night, respectively. Although these concentrations were about 2 times lower than similar measurements in 2006, the concentrations reported here were about 1–13 times higher than previous measurements in other major cities in the world. Molecular distributions of DCRCs revealed that oxalic acid (C2) was the dominant species (50%), followed by succinic acid (C4) (12%) and malonic acid (C3) (8%). WRF modeling revealed that Mt. Tai was mostly in the free troposphere during the campaign and long-range transport was a major factor governing the distributions of the measured compounds at Mt. Tai. A majority of the samples (79%) had comparable concentrations during the day and night, with their day–night concentration ratios between 0.9 and 1.1. Multi-day transport was considered an important reason for the similar concentrations. Correlation analyses of DCRCs and their gas precursors and between C2 and sulfate indicated precursor emissions and aqueous-phase oxidations during long-range transport also likely play an important role, especially during the night. Source identification indicated that anthropogenic activities followed by photochemical aging accounted for about 60% of the total variance and were the dominant source at Mt. Tai. However, biomass burning was only important during the first half of the measurement period. Measurements of potassium (K+) and DCRCs were about 2 times higher than those from the second half of the measurement period. The concentration of levoglucosan, a biomass burning tracer, decreased by about 80% between 2006 and 2014, indicating that biomass burning may have decreased between 2006 and 2014.