Renjian Zhang 1, Zhenxing Shen2, Tiantao Cheng3, Meigen Zhang4, Yanju Liu5

  • 1 Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment Research for Temperate East Asia, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 2 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710049, China
  • 3 Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 4 State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 5 Beijing Center for Physical and Chemical Analysis, Beijing 100089, China

Received: January 31, 2010
Revised: January 31, 2010
Accepted: January 31, 2010
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Cite this article:

Zhang, R., Shen, Z., Cheng, T., Zhang, M. and Liu, Y. (2010). The Elemental Composition of Atmospheric Particles at Beijing during Asian Dust Events in Spring 2004. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 10: 67-75.



The chemical element composition of dust particles was characterized by the ground-based samples collected at Beijing in the spring of 2004. Most of mineral and pollutant element concentrations in particles were elevated in dusty days, about 2–4 times higher than the levels in non-dusty days. Each of Si, Ca, Fe and Al accounted for over 10% of the sums of total 20 elements in mass, for example, Si was in 44.3%, 38.7% for dusty and non-dusty cases, respectively. Si, Fe, Ni or Ti can be used as an indicator of dust outflow, and Cu can be viewed as an evidence of dust particles mixing with anthropogenic contaminants as a result of coagulation processes. Mineral and pollutant elements showed a bimodal distribution in the mass particle-size distributions in both dusty and non-dusty days, but their peak concentrations fell in different size stages. Zn, Cl and Cu were mostly enriched in fine particles, Pb was enriched in intermediate sized particles, but most mineral elements, S and part of Cu were enriched in coarse particles. Mineral elements were dominated by crustal material, and pollutant elements were from non-crustal material including local and remote sources. Among the crustal material, part of Ca was originated from local construction activities. High concentration of Cu was related to the of rapidly increasing vehicles in Beijing, and the replacing of coal with diesel oil for heating fuel. Most of the mineral dust particles sampled at Beijing were originated from the Mongolian sandy soil and the Chinese loess in the spring of 2004. Using Mg/Al ratio element tracer technique method, the aerosol from outside Beijing accounted for 66.3% and 88.6% to the total mineral aerosol during dust event on 10–11 March and 28–30 March 2004, respectively.

Keywords: Dust; Asian dust event; Chemical element composition

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