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Atmosphere 2015, 6(11), 1633-1651; doi:10.3390/atmos6111633

The Influence of Sandstorms and Long-Range Transport on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in PM2.5 in the High-Altitude Atmosphere of Southern China

1
School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Shandong University, 27 Shanda Nanlu, Jinan 250100, China
2
Institute for Climate and Global Change Research and School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, 163 Xianlin Avenue, Nanjing 210023, China
3
Shandong Environmental Monitoring Center, 3377 Jingshi Road, Jinan 250101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Armin Sorooshian
Received: 9 September 2015 / Revised: 21 October 2015 / Accepted: 22 October 2015 / Published: 30 October 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Composition Observations)
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Abstract

PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5) samples were collected at Mount Heng and analyzed for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). During sampling, a sandstorm from northern China struck Mount Heng and resulted in a mean PM2.5 concentration of 150.61 μg/m3, which greatly exceeded the concentration measured under normal conditions (no sandstorm: 58.50 μg/m3). The average mass of PAHs in PM2.5 was 30.70 μg/g, which was much lower than in the non-sandstorm samples (80.80 μg/g). Therefore, the sandstorm increased particle levels but decreased PAH concentrations due to dilution and turbulence. During the sandstorm, the concentrations of 4- and 5-ring PAHs were below their detection limits, and 6-ring PAHs were the most abundant. Under normal conditions, the concentrations of 2-, 3- and 6-ring PAHs were higher, and 4- and 5-ring PAHs were lower relative to the other sampling sites. In general, the PAH contamination was low to medium at Mount Heng. Higher LMW (low molecular weight) concentrations were primarily linked to meteorological conditions, and higher HMW (high molecular weight) concentrations primarily resulted from long-range transport. Analysis of diagnostic ratios indicated that PM2.5 PAHs had been emitted during the combustion of coal, wood or petroleum. The transport characteristics and origins of the PAHs were investigated using backwards Lagrangian particle dispersion modeling. Under normal conditions, the “footprint” retroplumes and potential source contributions of PAHs for the highest and lowest concentrations indicated that local sources had little effect. In contrast, long-range transport played a vital role in the levels of PM2.5 and PAHs in the high-altitude atmosphere. View Full-Text
Keywords: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); sandstorm; emission sources; long-range transport; Mount Heng; free troposphere polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs); sandstorm; emission sources; long-range transport; Mount Heng; free troposphere
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Yang, M.; Wang, Y.; Liu, Q.; Ding, A.; Li, Y. The Influence of Sandstorms and Long-Range Transport on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in PM2.5 in the High-Altitude Atmosphere of Southern China. Atmosphere 2015, 6, 1633-1651.

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