Characterization of atmospheric organic and elemental carbon of PM2.5in a typical semi-arid area of northeastern China

Renjian Zhang, Jun Tao, K. F. Ho, Zhenxing Shen, Gehui Wang, Junji Cao, Suixin Liu, Leiming Zhang, S. C. Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


In the spring of 2006, daily particulate matter (PM2.5) aerosol samples were collected in Tongyu, a semi-arid area in northeastern China. The concentrations of organic carbon (OC) and elemental carbon (EC) were determined with a thermal/optical carbon analyzer in the filter samples. The average concentrations of OC and EC in PM2.5were 14.1 ± 8.7 and 2.0 ± 1.3 μg/m3, respectively. A good correlation between OC and EC was observed during the spring season, suggesting that they might be derived from similar sources. The correlation between OC and K+was high (R = 0.74), and the K+/OC ratio, as determined from their linear regression slope, reached 2.57. The good correlation and high K+/OC ratio indicated that biomass-burning was probably one of the major sources of OC in this region. The concentrations of estimated secondary organic carbon (SOC) in PM2.5in Tongyu ranged from below the detection limit to 26.1 μg/m3(mean, 5.9 μg/m3). The percentages of SOC in OC and in PM2.5mass were 42.0% and 2.1%, respectively. The SOC concentrations during dust storm (DS) periods were higher than those during non-dust storm (NDS) ones, suggesting that chemical reaction processes involving gas-particle conversion occurred during the long-distance transport of aerosol particles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)792-802
Number of pages11
JournalAerosol and Air Quality Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Dust storm
  • Elemental carbon
  • Organic carbon
  • Semi-arid area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution

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