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Characteristics of Single Aerosol Particles during Pollution in Winter in an Urban Area of Ningbo, China

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 19 | Issue: 8 | Pages: 1697-1707
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.01.0038
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To cite this article:
Yang, M.R., Zhou, J., Dai, X.R., van Pinxteren, D., Cao, M.Y., Li, M. and Xiao, H. (2019). Characteristics of Single Aerosol Particles during Pollution in Winter in an Urban Area of Ningbo, China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 1697-1707. doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.01.0038.

Meng-Rong Yang1,2,3, Jun Zhou4, Xiao-Rong Dai1,3, Dominik van Pinxteren5, Ming-Yang Cao6, Mei Li 7, Hang Xiao 1,3

  • 1 Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen 361021, China
  • 2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • 3 Ningbo Urban Environment Observation and Research Station-NUEORS, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ningbo 315830, China
  • 4 Environment monitoring Center of Ningbo, Ningbo 315012, China
  • 5 Leibniz-Institut für Troposphärenforschung (TROPOS), 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 6 Guangzhou Hexin Analytical Instrument Limited Company, Guangzhou 510530, China
  • 7 Institute of Mass Spectrometer and Atmospheric Environment, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China


  • Carbonaceous particle dominated during pollution periods.
  • All particle groups contained secondary species peaks in mass spectra.
  • Particles in the range of 0.4-0.8 μm had a significant impact on aerosol pollution.
  • Regional transportation and stagnant meteorological condition worsened the pollution.


The size and composition of individual atmospheric particles were assessed using a single particle aerosol mass spectrometer in Ningbo, China, from 30 December 2016 to 12 January 2017. The particles were primarily carbonaceous and inorganic, with the majority (60%) being carbonaceous. All of the major particle types contained internally mixed secondary species, such as nitrate and sulfate. The temporal trends of the particle number concentrations and PM2.5 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter < 2.5 µm) mass concentrations indicated that secondary formation in Ningbo severely affected the air quality. The sampling period was divided into three subperiods according to the PM2.5 mass concentration. During Period I, local emission and secondary formation were the primary contributors of the pollution, and during Periods II and III, the abundance of particles occurring with high-speed winds indicated that regional transport was a primary factor in these two pollution processes. Additionally, high PM2.5 mass concentrations were often observed at night during high relative humidity and low temperatures across the entire sampling period. These results demonstrate that stagnant meteorological conditions increase pollution during winter. Overall, this study enhances our understanding of particulate pollution in the southern Yangtze River Delta region and provides useful information on the formation and growth of atmospheric aerosols.


Particulate matter Mixing state Mass spectral characteristics Size distribution

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