Characterization of dicarboxylic acids in PM2.5 in Hong Kong

Xiaohong Yao, Ming Fang, Chak K. Chan, K. F. Ho, Shuncheng Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Dicarboxylic acids in atmospheric aerosols have received much attention because of their potential roles in affecting the global climate. The composition and the sources of dicarboxylic acids in PM2.5 were studied at one remote and two urban sites in Hong Kong in the winter of 2000 and in the summer of 2001. Oxalate was the dominant dicarboxylic acid in all samples. The winter oxalate concentrations were high and spatially uniform, with an average value of 0.36μgm-3, but the summer oxalate concentrations were low and had a large spatial variation. The influence of meteorological factors on the concentrations of dicarboxylic acids was also studied. The ratio of malonate to succinate was used to distinguish primary sources from secondary sources of these acids. This ratio at all three sites was close to that from direct vehicular exhaust in the winter, but it was close to that of secondary reactions in the summer. Hence, the acids were attributed to vehicular emissions in the winter and secondary sources in the summer. This hypothesis is also supported by a good correlation of oxalate with sulfate in the summer but a poor one in the winter. The correlations of oxalate with malonate, succinate, sulfate and K+were also studied in terms of the routes of secondary formation of these dicarboxylic acids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Malonic acid
  • Oxalic acid
  • PM2.5
  • Secondary water-soluble organic compounds
  • Succinic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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