Cloud scavenging of anthropogenic refractory particles at a mountain site in North China

Lei Liu, Jian Zhang, Liang Xu, Qi Yuan, Dao Huang, Jianmin Chen, Zongbo Shi, Yele Sun, Pingqing Fu, Zifa Wang, Daizhou Zhang, Weijun Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
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Aerosol-cloud interactions remain a major source of uncertainty in climate forcing estimates. Few studies have been conducted to characterize the aerosol-cloud interactions in heavily polluted conditions worldwide. In this study, cloud residual and cloud interstitial particles were collected during cloud events under different pollution levels from 22 July to 1 August 2014 at Mt. Tai (1532 m above sea level) located in the North China Plain (NCP). A transmission electron microscope was used to investigate the morphology, size, and chemical composition of individual cloud residual and cloud interstitial particles, and to study mixing properties of different aerosol components in individual particles. Our results show that S-rich particles were predominant (78 %) during clean periods (PM 2.5 < 15 μ 3 ), but a large number of anthropogenic refractory particles (e.g., soot, fly ash, and metal) and their mixtures with S-rich particles (defined as "S-refractory") were observed during polluted periods. Cloud droplets collected during polluted periods were found to become an extremely complicated mixture by scavenging abundant refractory particles. We found that 76 % of cloud residual particles were S-refractory particles and that 26 % of cloud residual particles contained two or more types of refractory particles. Soot-containing particles (i.e., S-soot and S-fly ash/metal-soot) were the most abundant (62 %) among cloud residual particles, followed by fly ash/metal-containing particles (i.e., S-fly ash/metal and Sfly ash/metal-soot, 37 %). These complicated cloud droplets have not been reported in clean continental or marine air before. Our findings provide an insight into the potential impacts on cloud radiative forcing from black carbon and metal catalyzed reactions of SO2 in micro-cloud droplets containing soluble metals released from fly ash and metals over polluted air.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14681-14693
Number of pages13
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Cite this as: Liu, L., Zhang, J., Xu, L., Yuan, Q., Huang, D., Chen, J., Shi, Z., Sun, Y., Fu, P., Wang, Z., Zhang, D., and Li, W.: Cloud scavenging of anthropogenic refractory particles at a mountain site in North China, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 14681-14693,, 2018.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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