Composition and hygroscopicity of aerosol particles at Mt. Lu in South China: implications for acid precipitation

Weijun Li, Jianwei Chi, Zongbo Shi, Xinfeng Wang, Bin Chen, Yan Wang, Tao Li, Jianmin Chen, Daizhou Zhang, Zifa Wang, Chune Shi, Liangke Liu, Wenxing Wang

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Physicochemical properties of aerosol particles were studied at Mt. Lu, an elevated site (115°59′E, 29°35′N, 1165 m) within the acid precipitation area. Northeast winds transport copious amounts of air pollutants and water vapor from the Yangtze River Delta into this acid precipitation area. NH4+ and SO42− are the dominant ions in PM2.5 and determine aerosol acidity. Individual particle analysis shows abundant S-rich and metals (i.e. Fe-, Zn-, Mn-, and Pb-rich) particles. Unlike aerosol particles in North China and urban areas, there are little soot and mineral particles at Mt. Lu. Lack of mineral particles contributed to the higher acidity in precipitation in the research area. Nano-sized spherical metal particles were observed to be embedded in 37% of S-rich particles. These metal particles were likely originated from heavy industries and fired-power plants. Hygroscopic experiments show that most particles start to deliquesce at 73–76% but organic coating lowers the particle deliquescence relative humidity (DRH) to 63–73%. The DRHs of these aerosol particles are clearly smaller than that of pure ammonium sulfate particles which is 80%. Since RH in ambient air was relatively high, ranging from 65% to 85% during our study period, most particles at our sampling site were in liquid phase. Our results suggest that liquid phase reactions in aerosol particles may contribute to SO2 to sulfuric acid conversion in the acid precipitation area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-636
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Early online date4 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • Acid precipitation
  • Hygroscopicity
  • Aerosol formation
  • Individual particle


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