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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-59
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-2020-59
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 09 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal AMT.

Mass Spectral Characterization of Primary Emissions and Implications in Source Apportionment of Organic Aerosol

Weiqi Xu1,, Yao He1,2,, Yanmei Qiu1,2, Chun Chen1,2, Conghui Xie1,2, Lu Lei1,2, Zhijie Li1,2, Jiaxing Sun1,2, Junyao Li1,2, Pingqing Fu3, Zifa Wang1,2, Douglas R. Worsnop4, and Yele Sun1,2,5 Weiqi Xu et al.
  • 1State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 3Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
  • 4Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, Massachusetts 01821, USA
  • 5Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
  • These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. Source apportionment of organic aerosol (OA) from aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) or aerosol chemical speciation monitor (ACSM) measurements relies largely upon mass spectral profiles from different source emissions. However, the changes in mass spectra of primary emissions from AMS/ACSM with the newly developed capture vaporizer (CV) are poorly understood. Here we conducted 21 cooking, crop straw, wood, and coal burning experiments to characterize the mass spectral features of OA and water-soluble OA (WSOA) using SV-AMS and CV-ACSM. Our results show overall similar spectral characteristics between SV-AMS and CV-ACSM for different primary emissions despite additional thermal decomposition in CV, and the previous spectral features for diagnostic of primary OA factors are generally well retained. However, the mass spectral differences between OA and WSOA can be substantial for both SV-AMS and CV-ACSM. The changes in f55 (fraction of m/z 55 in OA) vs. f57, f44 vs. f60, f44 vs. f43 in CV-ACSM are also observed, yet the evolving trends are similar to those of SV-AMS. By applying the source spectral profiles to a winter CV-ACSM study at a highly polluted rural site in North China Plain, the source apportionment of primary OA was much improved highlighting the two most important primary sources of biomass burning and coal combustion (32 % and 21 %). Considering the rapidly increasing deployments of CV-ACSM and WSOA studies worldwide, the mass spectral characterization has significant implications by providing essential constrains for more accurate source apportionment, and making better strategies for air pollution control in regions with diverse primary emissions.

Weiqi Xu et al.

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Short summary
We characterized mass spectral features of organic aerosol (OA) and water-soluble OA (WSOA) from 21 cooking, crop straw, wood, and coal burning experiments using aerosol mass spectrometers with standard and capture vaporizers, and demonstrated the applications of source spectral profiles in improving source apportionment of ambient OA at a highly polluted rural site in North China Plain in winter.
We characterized mass spectral features of organic aerosol (OA) and water-soluble OA (WSOA) from...
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