The chemical mechanisms responsible for rapid sulfate production, an important driver of winter haze formation in northern China, remain unclear. Here, we propose a potentially important heterogeneous hydroxymethanesulfonate (HMS) chemical mechanism. Through analyzing field measurements with aerosol mass spectrometry, we show evidence for a possible significant existence in haze aerosols of organosulfur primarily as HMS, misidentified as sulfate in previous observations. We estimate that HMS can account for up to about one-third of the sulfate concentrations unexplained by current air quality models. Heterogeneous production of HMS by SO2 and formaldehyde is favored under northern China winter haze conditions due to high aerosol water content, moderately acidic pH values, high gaseous precursor levels, and low temperature. These analyses identify an unappreciated importance of formaldehyde in secondary aerosol formation and call for more research on sources and on the chemistry of formaldehyde in northern China winter.
Accurately quantifying the spatiotemporal distribution of the biological component of CO2 surface–atmosphere exchange is necessary to improve top-down constraints on China's anthropogenic CO2 emissions. We provide hourly fluxes of CO2 as net ecosystem exchange (NEE; µmol CO2 m−2 s−1) on a 0.25∘×0.25∘" id="MathJax-Element-1-Frame" role="presentation" style="position: relative;" tabindex="0">0.25∘×0.25∘ grid by adapting the Vegetation, Photosynthesis, and Respiration Model (VPRM) to the eastern half of China for the time period from 2005 to 2009; the minimal empirical parameterization of the VPRM-CHINA makes it well suited for inverse modeling approaches. This study diverges from previous VPRM applications in that it is applied at a large scale to China's ecosystems for the first time, incorporating a novel processing framework not previously applied to existing VPRM versions. In addition, the VPRM-CHINA model prescribes methods for addressing dual-cropping regions that have two separate growing-season modes applied to the same model grid cell. We evaluate the VPRM-CHINA performance during the growing season and compare to other biospheric models. We calibrate the VPRM-CHINA with ChinaFlux and FluxNet data and scale up regionally using Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model v3.6.1 meteorology and MODIS surface reflectances. When combined with an anthropogenic emissions model in a Lagrangian particle transport framework, we compare the ability of VPRM-CHINA relative to an ensemble mean of global hourly flux models (NASA CMS – Carbon Monitoring System) to reproduce observations made at a site in northern China. The measurements are heavily influenced by the northern China administrative region. Modeled hourly time series using vegetation fluxes prescribed by VPRM-CHINA exhibit low bias relative to measurements during the May–September growing season. Compared to NASA CMS subset over the study region, VPRM-CHINA agrees significantly better with measurements. NASA CMS consistently underestimates regional uptake in the growing season. We find that during the peak growing season, when the heavily cropped North China Plain significantly influences measurements, VPRM-CHINA models a CO2 uptake signal comparable in magnitude to the modeled anthropogenic signal. In addition to demonstrating efficacy as a low-bias prior for top-down CO2 inventory optimization studies using ground-based measurements, high spatiotemporal resolution models such as the VPRM are critical for interpreting retrievals from global CO2 remote-sensing platforms such as OCO-2 and OCO-3 (planned). Depending on the satellite time of day and season of crossover, efforts to interpret the relative contribution of the vegetation and anthropogenic components to the measured signal are critical in key emitting regions such as northern China – where the magnitude of the vegetation CO2 signal is shown to be equivalent to the anthropogenic signal.
PM 2.5 during severe winter haze in Beijing, China, has reached levels as high as 880μg/m3, with sulfur compounds contributing significantly to PM 2.5 composition. This sulfur has been traditionally assumed to be sulfate, although atmospheric chemistry models are unable to account for such large sulfate enhancements under dim winter conditions. Using a 1-D model, we show that well-characterized but previously overlooked chemistry of aqueous-phase HCHO and S(IV) in cloud droplets to form a S(IV)-HCHO adduct, hydroxymethane sulfonate, may explain high particulate sulfur in wintertime Beijing. We also demonstrate in the laboratory that methods of ion chromatography typically used to measure ambient particulates easily misinterpret hydroxymethane sulfonate as sulfate. Our findings suggest that HCHO and not SO2 has been the limiting factor in many haze events in Beijing and that to reduce severe winter pollution in this region, policymakers may need to address HCHO sources such as transportation.
This study examines the sensitivity of “top-down” quantification of Chinese black carbon (BC) emissions to the temporal resolution of surface observations and to the transport model error associated with the grid resolution and wet deposition. At two rural sites (Miyun in North China Plain and Chongming in Yangtze River Delta), the model-inferred emission bias based on hourly BC observations can differ by up to 41% from that based on monthly mean observations. This difference relates to the intrinsic inability of the grid-based model in simulating high pollution plumes, which often exert a larger influence on the arithmetic mean of observations at monthly time steps. Adopting the variation of BC to carbon monoxide correlation slope with precipitation as a suitable measure to evaluate the model's wet deposition, we found that wet removal of BC in the model was too weak, due in part to the model's underestimation of large precipitation events. After filtering out the observations during high pollution plumes and large precipitation events for which the transport model error should not be translated into the emission error, the inferred emission bias changed from −11% (without filtering) to −2% (with filtering) at the Miyun site, and from −22% to +1% at the Chongming site. Using surface BC observations from three more rural sites (located in Northeast, Central, and Central South China, respectively) as constraints, our top-down estimate of total BC emissions over China was 1.80 ± 0.65 Tg/yr in 2006, 0.5% lower than the bottom-up inventory of Zhang et al. (2009) but with smaller uncertainty.
The mass concentrations of black carbon (BC) were measured continuously at Miyun, a rural site near Beijing, concurrently with some trace gases (CO, CO2, NOy, SO2) during the nonheating seasons of 2010 (April to October). The average concentration of BC was 2.26 ± 2.33 μg m−3. About 70%–100% of the air masses arriving at the site from June to September were from the source region of Beijing and the North China Plain (NCP), while in the spring, 40% were of continental background origin. BC had moderate to strong positive correlations with CO (R2 = 0.51), NOy (R2 = 0.58), and CO2 (nonsummer, R2 = 0.54), but not with SO2 (R2 < 0.1). The observed ΔBC/ΔCO ratio was 0.0050 ± 0.0001 μg m−3/ppbv for the regional air masses (excluding the influence of biomass burning). This ratio increased by 68% to 0.0084 ± 0.0004 μg m−3/ppbv after excluding the influence of wet deposition. Accounting further for the impact of atmospheric processes on the observation, we derived an average top‐down BC/CO emission ratio of 0.0095 ± 0.002 μg m−3/ppbv for the source region of Beijing and NCP that is 18%–21% lower than the average emission ratio from the bottom‐up inventory of Zhang et al. (2009), whereas the difference is substantially lower than the uncertainty of emissions for either species. The difference between the mean bottom‐up and top‐down emission ratios is most likely to be attributed to the residential sector, which needs to have a lower share in the total emissions of BC or a much lower BC/CO emission ratio. The industry and transportation sectors are found to be dominant sources of BC from Beijing and the NCP rather than from the residential sector as suggested by the bottom‐up inventory.
Although China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, in situ measurements of atmospheric CO2 have been sparse in China. This paper analyzes hourly CO2 and its correlation with CO at Miyun, a rural site near Beijing, over a period of 51 months (Dec 2004 through Feb 2009). The CO2-CO correlation analysis evaluated separately for each hour of the day provides useful information with statistical significance even in the growing season. We found that the intercept, representing the initial condition imposed by global distribution of CO2 with influence of photosynthesis and respiration, exhibits diurnal cycles differing by season. The background CO2 (CO2,b) derived from Miyun observations is comparable to CO2 observed at a Mongolian background station to the northwest. Annual growth of overall mean CO2 at Miyun is estimated at 2.7 ppm yr−1 while that of CO2,b is only 1.7 ppm yr−1 similar to the mean growth rate at northern mid-latitude background stations. This suggests a relatively faster increase in the regional CO2 sources in China than the global average, consistent with bottom-up studies of CO2 emissions. For air masses with trajectories through the northern China boundary layer, mean winter CO2/CO correlation slopes (dCO2/dCO) increased by 2.8±0.9 ppmv/ppmv or 11% from 2005–2006 to 2007–2008, with CO2 increasing by 1.8 ppmv. The increase in dCO2/dCO indicates improvement in overall combustion efficiency over northern China after winter 2007, attributed to pollution reduction measures associated with the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The observed CO2/CO ratio at Miyun is 25% higher than the bottom-up CO2/CO emission ratio, suggesting a contribution of respired CO2 from urban residents as well as agricultural soils and livestock in the observations and uncertainty in the emission estimates.
We examine seasonal variations of carbon monoxide (CO), ozone (O3), and their relationships observed over the course of 3 yr (2005–2007) at Miyun, a rural site 100 km north of Beijing. Monthly mean afternoon mixing ratios of CO have broad maxima in winter and a secondary peak in June. Monthly mean afternoon O3 shows a clear seasonal pattern with a major peak in June (85 ppb), a secondary peak in September (65 ppb) and minimum in winter (50–55 ppb). The seasonal cycles of O3 and CO are associated with seasonal changes in dominant synoptic pattern. Substantial interannual variability is found for CO which is attributed to the interannual variability of meteorology and emissions from biomass burning. The seasonality and magnitude of background CO and O3 derived at Miyun are consistent with observations at upwind remote continental sites. The O3–CO correlation slope is about 0.07 ppb ppb−1 on average in summer, significantly lower than the typical slope of 0.3 ppb ppb−1 reported for developed countries. The O3–CO correlation slope shows large gradients for different types of air masses (0.133 ± 0.017 ppb ppb−1 in aged urban pollution plumes and 0.047 ± 0.008 ppb ppb−1 in biomass burning plumes), suggesting that the conventional method of direct scaling the mean O3–CO slope by CO emissions to deduce O3 production rate is subject to large uncertainties if applied for China.
A series of aggressive measures was launched by the Chinese government to reduce pollutant emissions from Beijing and surrounding areas during the Olympic Games. Observations at Miyun, a rural site 100 km downwind of the Beijing urban center, show signiﬁcant decreases in concen-trations of O3, CO, NOy, and SO2 during August 2008, rel-ative to August 2006–2007. The mean daytime mixing ratio of O3 was lower by about 15 ppbv, reduced to 50 ppbv, in August 2008. The relative reductions in daytime SO2, CO, and NOy were 61%, 25%, and 21%, respectively. Changes in SO2 and in species correlations from 2007 to 2008 indicate that emissions of SO2, CO, and NOx were reduced at least by 60%, 32%, and 36%, respectively, during the Olympics. Analysis of meteorological conditions and interpretation of observations using a chemical transport model suggest that although the day-to-day variability in ozone is driven mostly by meteorology, the reduction in emissions of ozone pre-cursors associated with the Olympic Games had a signiﬁ-cant contribution to the observed decrease in O3 during Au-gust 2008, accounting for 80% of the O3 reduction for the month as a whole and 45% during the Olympics Period (8–24 August). The model predicts that emission restrictions such as those implemented during the Olympics can affect O3 far beyond the Beijing urban area, resulting in reductions in boundary layer O3 of 2–10 ppbv over a large region of the North China Plain and Northeastern China.
Large intra-season differences in mixing ratios of CO and O3 were detected at Miyun, a rural site north of Beijing, in summer 2006. Despite an increase in mean daytime mixing ratio of CO from 500 ppbv in June to 700 ppbv in July, mean daytime O3 dropped from 67 ppbv in June to 50 ppbv in July and August. The observed changes in CO and O3 are attributed to the influence of the summer monsoonal circulation that develops over the North China Plain in July. Photochemical production of O3 is reduced as a consequence of increased cloudiness during July and August, as indicated by the strong negative correlation observed between O3 and satellite observations of cloud optical depth, with cloudiness having little effect on CO. The analysis suggests a strategy for emission controls that could be implemented in an economically efficient manner to minimize the frequency of high levels of O3 during summer in Beijing.
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