Carbonyl compounds at Mount Tai in the North China Plain: Characteristics, sources, and effects on ozone formation

Xue Yang, Likun Xue, Lan Yao, Qinyi Li, Liang Wen, Yanhong Zhu, Tianshu Chen, Xinfeng Wang, Lingxiao Yang, Tao Wang, Shuncheng Lee, Jianmin Chen, Wenxing Wang

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Carbonyl compounds, an important category of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), play important roles in ozone (O3) formation and atmospheric chemistry. To better understand the characteristics and sources of carbonyl compounds and their effects on O3formation, C1-C8carbonyls were measured at Mount Tai, the highest mountain in the North China Plain (NCP), in summer 2014. Acetone (3.57 ± 0.55 ppbv), formaldehyde (3.48 ± 0.98 ppbv) and acetaldehyde (1.27 ± 0.78 ppbv) are the three most abundant species, comprising as high as 90% of the total observed compounds. Isovaleraldehyde (0.37 ± 0.17 ppbv) presents another important carbonyl compound despite its high reactivity. Comparison with the observations available in China highlights the serious situation of carbonyls pollution in the NCP region. The sources of carbonyls are dominated by photo-oxidation of VOCs during the daytime and regional transport at night. Secondary sources from oxidation of hydrocarbons contribute on average 44% of formaldehyde, 31% of acetone, 85% of acetaldehyde, 78% of benzaldehyde, and 84% of isovaleraldehyde, demonstrating the dominant role of secondary formation in the ambient carbonyl levels. Formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and isovaleraldehyde are the most important contributors to the OH reactivity and O3production among the measured carbonyls. This study shows that carbonyl compounds contribute significantly to the photochemical pollution in the NCP region and hence understanding their sources and characteristics is essential for developing the science-based O3pollution control strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017


  • Carbonyls
  • Multiple linear regression model
  • OH reactivity
  • Ozone formation
  • Regional transport
  • Secondary formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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