Characterization and source apportionment of atmospheric organic and elemental carbon during fall and winter of 2003 in Xi'an, China

J. J. Cao, F. Wu, J. C. Chow, Shuncheng Lee, Y. Li, S. W. Chen, Z. S. An, K. K. Fung, J. G. Watson, C. S. Zhu, S. X. Liu

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Continuous measurements of atmospheric organic and elemental carbon (OC and EC) were taken during the high-pollution fall and winter seasons at Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, China from September 2003 through February 2004. Battery-powered mini-volume samplers collected PM2.5samples daily and PM10samples every third day. Samples were also obtained from the plumes of residential coal combustion, motor-vehicle exhaust, and biomass burning sources. These samples were analyzed for OC/EC by thermal/optical reflectance (TOR) following the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE) protocol. OC and EC levels at Xi'an are higher than most urban cities in Asia. Average PM2.5OC concentrations in fall and winter were 34.1±18.0 μg m-3and 61.9±33.2 μg m-3, respectively; while EC concentrations were 11.3±6.9 μg m-3and 12.3±5.3 μg m-3, respectively. Most of the OC and EC were in the PM2.5fraction. OC was strongly correlated (R>0.95) with EC in the autumn and moderately correlated (R=0.81) with EC during winter. Carbonaceous aerosol (OC×1.6+EC) accounted for 48.8%±10.1% of the PM2.5mass during fall and 45.9±7.5% during winter. The average OC/EC ratio was 3.3 in fall and 5.1 in winter, with individual OC/EC ratios nearly always exceeding 2.0. The higher wintertime OC/EC corresponded to increased residential coal combustion for heating. Total carbon (TC) was associated with source contributions using absolute principal component analysis (APCA) with eight thermally-derived carbon fractions. During fall, 73% of TC was attributed to gasoline engine exhaust, 23% to diesel exhaust, and 4% to biomass burning. During winter, 44% of TC was attributed to gasoline engine exhaust, 44% to coal burning, 9% to biomass burning, and 3% to diesel engine exhaust. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3127-3137
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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