Improved source apportionment of organic aerosols in complex urban air pollution using the multilinear engine (ME-2)

Zhu, Qiao; Huang, Xiao-Feng; Cao, Li-Ming; Wei, Lin-Tong; Zhang, Bin; He, Ling-Yan; Elser, Miriam; Canonaco, Francesco; Slowik, Jay G.; Bozzetti, Carlo; El-Haddad, Imad; Prévôt, André S. H.

Organic aerosols (OAs), which consist of thousands of complex compounds emitted from various sources, constitute one of the major components of fine particulate matter. The traditional positive matrix factorization (PMF) method often apportions aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) organic datasets into less meaningful or mixed factors, especially in complex urban cases. In this study, an improved source apportionment method using a bilinear model of the multilinear engine (ME-2) was applied to OAs collected during the heavily polluted season from two Chinese megacities located in the north and south with an Aerodyne high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS). We applied a rather novel procedure for utilization of prior information and selecting optimal solutions, which does not necessarily depend on other studies. Ultimately, six reasonable factors were clearly resolved and quantified for both sites by constraining one or more factors: hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), cooking-related OA (COA), biomass burning OA (BBOA), coal combustion (CCOA), less-oxidized oxygenated OA (LO-OOA) and more-oxidized oxygenated OA (MO-OOA). In comparison, the traditional PMF method could not effectively resolve the appropriate factors, e.g., BBOA and CCOA, in the solutions. Moreover, coal combustion and traffic emissions were determined to be primarily responsible for the concentrations of PAHs and BC, respectively, through the regression analyses of the ME-2 results.

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Zhu, Qiao / Huang, Xiao-Feng / Cao, Li-Ming / et al: Improved source apportionment of organic aerosols in complex urban air pollution using the multilinear engine (ME-2). 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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