Northeast China is located in a high latitude area of the world and undergoes a cold season that lasts six months each year. Recently, regional haze episodes with high concentrations of fine particles (PM2.5
) have frequently been occurring in Northeast China during the heating period, but little information has been available. Aerosol particles were collected in winter at a site in a suburban county town (T1) and a site in a background rural area (T2). Morphology, size, elemental composition, and mixing state of individual aerosol particles were characterized by transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Aerosol particles were mainly composed of organic matter (OM) and S-rich and certain amounts of soot and K-rich. OM represented the most abundant particles, accounting for 60.7% and 53.5% at the T1 and T2 sites, respectively. Abundant spherical OM particles were likely emitted directly from coal-burning stoves. Soot decreased from 16.9% at the T1 site to 4.6% at the T2 site and sulfate particles decrease from 35.9% at the T2 site to 15.7% at the T1 site, suggesting that long-range transport air masses experienced more aging processes and produced more secondary particles. Based on our investigations, we proposed that emissions from coal-burning stoves in most rural areas of the west part of Northeast China can induce regional haze episodes.
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