Source origins, modeled profiles, and apportionments of halogenated hydrocarbons in the greater Pearl River Delta region, southern China

Hai Guo, A. J. Ding, Tao Wang, I. J. Simpson, D. R. Blake, B. Barletta, S. Meinardi, F. S. Rowland, S. M. Saunders, T. M. Fu, W. T. Hung, Yok Sheung Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


We analyze 16-month data of 13 major halocarbons measured at a southern China coastal site in the greater Pearl River Delta (PRD). A total of 188 canister air samples were collected from August 2001 to December 2002. Overall inspection indicated that CH<sub>2</sub>Cl<sub>2</sub>, C<sub>2</sub>Cl <sub>4</sub>, and C<sub>2</sub>HCl<sub>3</sub> had similar temporal variations while CFC-11, CFC-12, and CFC-113 showed the same emission patterns during the sampling period. Diurnal variations of halocarbons presented different patterns during ozone episode days, mainly related to emission strength, atmospheric dispersion, and photochemical lifetimes. For further statistics and source appointment, Lagrangian backward particle release simulations were conducted to help understand the potential source regions of all samples and classify them into different categories, including local Hong Kong, inner PRD, continental China, and marine air masses. With the exception of HCFC-142b, the mixing ratios of all halocarbons in marine air were significantly lower than those in urban and regional air (p < 0.01), whereas no significant difference was found between urban Hong Kong and inner PRD regional air, reflecting the dominant impact of the greater PRD regional air on the halocarbon levels. The halocarbon levels in this region were significantly influenced by anthropogenic sources, causing the halocarbon mixing ratios in South China Sea air to be higher than the corresponding background levels, as measured by global surface networks and by airborne missions such as Transport and Chemical Evolution Over the Pacific. Interspecies correlation analysis suggests that CHCl<sub>3</sub> is mainly used as a solvent in Hong Kong but mostly as a feedstock for HCFC-22 in the inner PRD. Furthermore, CH<sub>3</sub>Cl is often used as a refrigerant and emitted from biomass/biofuel burning in the inner PRD. A positive matrix factorization receptor model was applied to the classified halocarbon samples in the greater PRD for source profiles and apportionments. Seven major sources were identified and quantified. Emissions from solvent use were the most significant source of halocarbons (71 ± 9%), while refrigeration was the second largest contributor (18 ± 2%). By further looking at samples from the inner PRD and from urban Hong Kong separately, we found that more solvent was used in the dry cleaning industry in Hong Kong, whereas the contribution of cleaning solvent in the electronic industry was higher in the inner PRD. Besides the two common sources of solvent use and refrigeration, the contributions of biomass/biofuel burning and feedstock in chemical manufacturing was remarkable in the inner PRD but negligible in Hong Kong. These findings are of help to effectively control and phase out the emissions of halocarbons in the greater PRD region of southern China
Original languageEnglish
Article numberD11302
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


Dive into the research topics of 'Source origins, modeled profiles, and apportionments of halogenated hydrocarbons in the greater Pearl River Delta region, southern China'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this