Characteristics of ammonia, acid gases, and PM2.5 for three typical land-use types in the North China Plain

Xu, Wen; Wu, Qinghua; Liu, Xuejun; Tang, Aohan; Dore, Anthony J.; Heal, Mathew R.. 2016 Characteristics of ammonia, acid gases, and PM2.5 for three typical land-use types in the North China Plain. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 23 (2). 1158-1172.

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Air pollution is one of the most serious environmental problems in China due to its rapid economic development alongside a very large consumption of fossil fuel, particularly in the North China Plain (NCP). During the period 2011–2014, we integrated active and passive sampling methods to perform continuous measurements of NH3, HNO3, NO2, and PM2.5 at two urban, one suburban, and two rural sites in the NCP. The annual average concentrations of NH3, NO2, and HNO3 across the five sites were in the ranges 8.5–23.0, 22.2–50.5, and 5.5–9.7 μg m−3, respectively, showing no significant spatial differences for NH3 and HNO3 but significantly higher NO2 concentration at the urban sites. At each site, annual average concentrations of NH3 and NO2 showed increasing and decreasing trends, respectively, while there was no obvious trend in annual HNO3 concentrations. Daily PM2.5 concentrations ranged from 11.8 to 621.0 μg m−3 at the urban site, from 19.8 to 692.9 μg m−3 at the suburban site, and from 23.9 to 754.5 μg m−3 at the two rural sites, with more than 70 % of sampling days exceeding 75 μg m−3. Concentrations of water-soluble ions in PM2.5 ranked differently between the non-rural and rural sites. The three dominant ions were NH4 +, NO3 −, and SO4 2− and mainly existed as (NH4)2SO4, NH4HSO4, and NH4NO3, and their concentrations averaged 48.6 ± 44.9, 41.2 ± 40.8, and 49.6 ± 35.9 μg m−3 at the urban, suburban, and rural sites, respectively. Ion balance calculations indicated that PM2.5 was neutral at the non-rural sites but acidic at the rural sites. Seasonal variations of the gases and aerosols exhibited different patterns, depending on source emission strength and meteorological conditions. Our results suggest that a feasible pathway to control PM2.5 pollution in the NCP should target ammonia and acid gases together.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Dise
ISSN: 0944-1344
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: air pollution, reactive N, PM2.5, control strategies, chemical characteristics, North China Plain
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 19 Jan 2016 14:32 +0 (UTC)

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