Increased inorganic aerosol fraction contributes to air pollution and haze in China

Wang, Yonghong; Wang, Yuesi; Wang, Lili; Petäjä, Tuukka; Zha, Qiaozhi; Gong, Chongshui; Li, Sixuan; Pan, Yuepeng; Hu, Bo; Xin, Jinyuan; Kulmala, Markku

The detailed formation mechanism of an increased number of haze events in China is still not very clear. Here, we found that reduced surface visibility from 1980 to 2010 and an increase in satellite-derived columnar concentrations of inorganic precursors from 2002 to 2012 are connected with each other. Typically, higher inorganic mass fractions lead to increased aerosol water uptake and light-scattering ability in elevated relative humidity. Satellite observation of aerosol precursors of NO2 and SO2 showed increased concentrations during the study period. Our in situ measurement of aerosol chemical composition in Beijing also confirmed increased contribution of inorganic aerosol fraction as a function of the increased particle pollution level. Our investigations demonstrate that the increased inorganic fraction in the aerosol particles is a key component in the frequently occurring haze days during the study period, and particularly the reduction of nitrate, sulfate and their precursor gases would contribute towards better visibility in China.

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Wang, Yonghong / Wang, Yuesi / Wang, Lili / et al: Increased inorganic aerosol fraction contributes to air pollution and haze in China. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Yonghong Wang et al.

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