Mutual promotion between aerosol particle liquid water and particulate nitrate enhancement leads to severe nitrate-dominated particulate matter pollution and low visibility

Wang, Y. and Chen, Y. and Wu, Z. and Shang, D. and Bian, Y. and Du, Z. and H. Schmitt, S. and Su, R. and I. Gkatzelis, G. and Schlag, P. and Hohaus, T. and Voliotis, A. and Lu, K. and Zeng, L. and Zhao, C. and Rami Alfarra, M. and McFiggans, G. and Wiedensohler, A. and Kiendler-Scharr, A. and Zhang, Y. and Hu, M. (2020) Mutual promotion between aerosol particle liquid water and particulate nitrate enhancement leads to severe nitrate-dominated particulate matter pollution and low visibility. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20 (4). pp. 2161-2175. ISSN 1680-7316

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Abstract

As has been the case in North America and western Europe, the SO2 emissions have substantially reduced in the North China Plain (NCP) in recent years. Differential rates of reduction in SO2 and NOx concentrations result in the frequent occurrence of particulate matter pollution dominated by nitrate (pNO3-) over the NCP. In this study, we observed a polluted episode with the particulate nitrate mass fraction in nonrefractory PM1 (NR-PM1) being up to 44 % during wintertime in Beijing. Based on this typical pNO3--dominated haze event, the linkage between aerosol water uptake and pNO3- enhancement, further impacting on visibility degradation, has been investigated based on field observations and theoretical calculations. During haze development, as ambient relative humidity (RH) increased from ĝ1/410 % to 70 %, the aerosol particle liquid water increased from ĝ1/41 μg m-3 at the beginning to ĝ1/475 μg m-3 in the fully developed haze period. The aerosol liquid water further increased the aerosol surface area and volume, enhancing the condensational loss of N2O5 over particles. From the beginning to the fully developed haze, the condensational loss of N2O5 increased by a factor of 20 when only considering aerosol surface area and volume of dry particles, while increasing by a factor of 25 when considering extra surface area and volume due to water uptake. Furthermore, aerosol liquid water favored the thermodynamic equilibrium of HNO3 in the particle phase under the supersaturated HNO3 and NH3 in the atmosphere. All the above results demonstrated that pNO3- is enhanced by aerosol water uptake with elevated ambient RH during haze development, in turn facilitating the aerosol take-up of water due to the hygroscopicity of particulate nitrate salt. Such mutual promotion between aerosol particle liquid water and particulate nitrate enhancement can rapidly degrade air quality and halve visibility within 1 d. Reduction of nitrogen-containing gaseous precursors, e.g., by control of traffic emissions, is essential in mitigating severe haze events in the NCP.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1900/1902
Subjects:
ID Code:
142548
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
23 Mar 2020 16:15
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
16 Nov 2020 10:05