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A Visualization Approach to Air Pollution Data Exploration—A Case Study of Air Quality Index (PM2.5) in Beijing, China
Open AccessArticle

Size-Dependent Characterization of Atmospheric Particles during Winter in Beijing

State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Sources and Control of Air Pollution Complex, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Kimoto Electric Co. Ltd., Funahashi-Cho, Tennouji-Ku Osaka 543-0024, Japan
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert W. Talbot
Atmosphere 2016, 7(3), 36;
Received: 27 December 2015 / Revised: 30 January 2016 / Accepted: 4 February 2016 / Published: 3 March 2016
Two real-time instruments, NCSA (Nanoparticle Chemical Speciation Analyzer) and ACSA (Aerosol Chemical Speciation Analyzer), were both deployed in Beijing, China to explore the sized-dependent characterization of atmospheric particles. The mass concentrations of PM1, PM2.5, PM10, and sulfate and nitrate in the three size fractions were hourly measured in situ from 13 December 2013 to 7 January 2014. Generally, “sawtooth cycles” are common during winter in Beijing, with the PM concentrations increasing slowly over a few days, then falling to a low level abruptly in only a few hours. The secondary species, sulfate and nitrate, play important roles in haze formation and account for 10.5% and 11.1% of total PM1 mass on average. Based on the variation of PM1 mass concentrations, we classify the study periods into three categories, clean, slightly polluted, and polluted. The oxidation ratios of sulfur and nitrogen both increase from clean to polluted periods, indicating the significant contribution of secondary transformation to haze evolution. While the PM2.5/PM10 ratio shows high dependence on PM pollution level, the ratio of PM1/PM2.5 remains almost stable during the entire study, with an average of 0.90. With respect to the mass-size distribution of chemical components, both sulfate and nitrate show dominant contributions in PM1 size fraction, accounting for 80.7% and 60.3% of total sulfate and nitrate, respectively. Our results also reveal that the elevated sulfate in PM1, and the enhanced nitrate in PM1 and PM2.5–1 size fraction, prompt the formation of haze pollution. View Full-Text
Keywords: PM evolution; size-dependent characterization; secondary species; sawtooth cycles PM evolution; size-dependent characterization; secondary species; sawtooth cycles
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Li, H.; Duan, F.; He, K.; Ma, Y.; Kimoto, T.; Huang, T. Size-Dependent Characterization of Atmospheric Particles during Winter in Beijing. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 36.

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