Abundance and origin of fine particulate chloride in continental China

Xue Yang, Tao Wang, Men Xia, Xiaomen Gao, Qinyi Li, Naiwen Zhang, Yuan Gao, Shuncheng Lee, Xinfeng Wang, Likun Xue, Lingxiao Yang, Wenxing Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Particulate chloride can be converted to nitryl chloride (ClNO2) through heterogeneous reactions with dinitrogen pentoxide (N2O5), and photolysis of ClNO2affects atmospheric oxidative capacity. However, the characteristics and sources of chloride, especially those with an anthropogenic origin, are poorly characterized, which makes it difficult to evaluate the effects of ClNO2on radical chemistry and air quality in polluted regions. Aerosol composition data from the literature were compiled to derive the spatial distributions of particulate chloride across China, and hourly aerosol composition data collected at a highly polluted inland urban site in eastern China and at a coastal site in southern China were analysed to gain further insights into non-oceanic sources of chloride. The results show that particulate chloride is concentrated mainly in fine particles and that high chloride loadings are observed in the inland urban areas of northern and western China with higher Cl−/Na+mass ratios (2.46 to 5.00) than sea water (1.81), indicative of significant contributions from anthropogenic sources. At the inland urban site, the fine chloride displays distinct seasonality, with higher levels in winter and summer. Correlation analysis and positive matrix factorization (PMF) results indicate that coal combustion and residential biomass burning are the main sources (84.8%) of fine chloride in winter, and open biomass burning is the major sources (52.7%) in summer. The transport of plumes from inland polluted areas leads to elevated fine chloride in coastal areas. A simulation with WRF-Chem model confirmed a minor contribution of sea-salt aerosol to fine chloride at the inland site during summer with winds from the East Sea. The widespread sources of chloride, together with abundant NOx and ozone, suggest significant ClNO2production and subsequent enhanced photochemical processes over China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1051
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018


  • Abundance
  • Anthropogenic source
  • Continental China
  • Fine chloride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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