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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

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DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.01.0038
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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 December 30, 2016, to January 12, 2017. The particles primarily comprised carbonaceous and inorganic particles. In total, 60% of the particles were carbonaceous, thus making them the principal particles. All particle types included internally mixed secondary species, such as nitrate and sulfate. Temporal trends of particle number concentrations and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) mass concentrations demonstrated that secondary formation in Ningbo had a severe effect on particle pollution. The sampling period was divided into three subperiods based on PM2.5 mass concentrations. In period I, local emissions and secondary formation primarily contributed to pollution. During periods II and III, particle abundance under high wind speed indicated that regional transport was a primary source of the two pollution processes. During the sampling period, high PM2.5 mass concentrations were often observed under high relative humidity and low temperature conditions at night. The results showed that stagnant meteorological conditions increased pollution in winter. This study enhanced the understanding of the size and composition of individual particles in the southern Yangtze River Delta region and provided useful information on the formation and growth of atmospheric aerosols.


Particulate matter Mixing state Mass spectral characteristics Size distribution

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