Publisher: Copernicus Publications
Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Subjects: Physics, QC1-999, Chemistry, QD1-999
Elucidating the relationship between characteristics of aerosol particles and optical absorption is important to deepen the understanding of atmospheric chemistry. Aerosol particles play significant roles in climate forcing via their optical
absorption properties. However, the relationship between characteristics of
aerosol particles and optical absorption remains poorly understood. Aerosol
optical properties and morphologies were measured by a transmission electron
microscope (TEM), cavity ring-down spectrometer (CRDS), a nephelometer and an
Aethalometer in a urban site of Beijing from 24 May to 22 June. Five episodes
were categorized according to the meteorological conditions and composition.
The results showed that the clear episode (EP-2 and EP-4) featured as the low
aerosol optical depth (AOD = 0.72) and fewer pollutants compared with
haze (1.14) and fog (2.92) episodes and the particles are mostly externally
mixed. The high Ångström exponent (> 2.0) suggests that
coarse particles were scarcely observed in EP-2 due to the washout of a
previous heavy rain, whereas they were widespread in EP-4 (Ångström
exponent = 0.04), which had some mineral particles introduced from the
north. In contrast, industry-induced haze (EP-1) and biomass-burning-induced
haze (EP-5) were both affected by the south air mass. Compared with the EP-2
and EP-4, the AOD values and the size distribution of particles during EP-1
and EP-5 were much greater because of relatively high particle
concentrations. All of the particles were classified into nine categories,
i.e. S-rich, N-rich, mineral, K-rich, soot, tar ball, organic, metal and fly
ash, on the basis of TEM analysis. In contrast to the EP-1, a large fraction
of soot, which sticks to KCl, sulfate or nitrate particles, was detected
during EP-5. Additionally, evident enhancement of light absorption was
observed during the EP-5, which was mainly ascribed to both black carbon (BC)
acceleration and other absorbing substances. However, soot was found mostly
internally mixed with sulfate and nitrate during a soot fog episode (EP-3),
resulting in evident enhancement of light absorption. The larger size
distribution was likely to be caused by both hygroscopic growth and collision
between particles during the aging. About 28 % of particles were
internally mixed during the foggy days, which favoured the light absorption.
The comparison of all the episodes provides a deeper insight into how mixing
states influence the aerosol extinction properties and also a clue as to how
to control air pollution in the crop burning seasons.
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