Shui-Ping Wu 1,2, James Schwab3, Bing-Yu Yang2, An Zheng2, Chung-Shin Yuan2,4

  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Marine Environmental Science, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
  • 2 College of Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
  • 3 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany, SUNY, Albany 12203, USA
  • 4 Institute of Environmental Engineering, National Sun Yat-Sen University, Kaohsiung 80424, Taiwan

Received: May 25, 2015
Revised: July 5, 2015
Accepted: July 11, 2015
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Cite this article:
Wu, S.P., Schwab, J., Yang, B.Y., Zheng, A. and Yuan, C.S. (2015). Two-Years PM2.5 Observations at Four Urban Sites along the Coast of Southeastern China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 15: 1799-1812.


  • The emissions from motor vehicles should be emphasized during the haze episodes.
  • Rainfall scavenging was the most critical parameter in driving the periodic PM2.5 cycle.
  • Regional characteristics of PM2.5 pollution are clear in the coast of Southeastern China.



PM2.5 samples from four coastal urban sites (Fuzhou, Putian, Quanzhou, and Xiamen) in Southeastern China were collected to analyze their major chemical composition including inorganic ions, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and inorganic elements. Organic matter (OM = 1.6 × OC) was the largest contributor, accounting for 30.2% of PM2.5 mass concentration, and followed by sulfate (19.8%), ammonium (10.6%), and nitrate (9.7%), with minor contribution from trace species (5.1%), crustal species (4.7%) and EC (2.9%). Sea-salt and biomass burning potassium together contributed less than 2%. At the four sites, higher PM2.5 and its major components were observed in the northeast monsoon season while lower levels were found in the southwest monsoon season. The periodic PM2.5 cycle was observed and influenced mainly by rain wash out. However, regular diurnal variations of PM2.5 with high concentration during daytime were only observed in summer due to the greater production of sulfate and organic aerosols in spite of the fact that the vertical mixing coefficients were lower during nighttime. The relative contributions of secondary inorganic aerosols (sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium) to PM2.5 increased rapidly while the contribution of OM decreased during the haze episodes. The reconstructed visibility using revised IMPROVE method correlated well with the measured values. At Xiamen and Fuzhou sites, the major contributors of light extinction coefficient were ammonium sulfate, ammonium nitrate, OM and coarse mass, and accounted for more than 80% of the light extinction coefficient on average.

Keywords: PM2.5; Chemical composition; Visibility; Temporal variation; Southeastern China

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