Insight into PM2.5 Sources by Applying Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) at an Urban and Rural Site of Beijing

Deepchandra Srivastava, Jingsha Xu, Van Tuan VU, Di Liu, Linjie Li, Pingqing Fu, Siqi Hou, Natalia Moreno Palmerola, Zongbo Shi, Roy Harrison

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This study presents the source apportionment of PM2:5 performed by positive matrix factorization (PMF) on data presented here which were collected at urban (Institute of Atmospheric Physics – IAP) and rural (Pinggu – PG) sites in Beijing as part of the Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese megacity (APHH-Beijing) field campaigns. The campaigns were carried out from 9 November to 11 December 2016 and from 22 May to 24 June 2017. The PMF analysis included both organic and inorganic species, and a seven-factor output provided the most reasonable solution for the PM2:5 source apportionment. These factors are interpreted as traffic emissions, biomass burning, road dust, soil dust, coal combustion, oil combustion, and secondary inorganics. Major contributors to PM2:5 mass were secondary inorganics (IAP: 22 %; PG: 24 %), biomass burning (IAP: 36 %; PG: 30 %), and coal combustion (IAP: 20 %; PG: 21 %) sources during the winter period at both sites. Secondary inorganics (48 %), road dust (20 %), and coal combustion (17 %) showed the highest contribution during summer at PG, while PM2:5 particles were mainly composed of soil dust (35 %) and secondary inorganics (40 %) at IAP. Despite this, factors that were resolved based on metal signatures were not fully resolved and indicate a mixing of two or more sources. PMF results were also compared with sources resolved from another receptor model (i.e. chemical mass balance – CMB) and PMF performed on other measurements (i.e. online and offline aerosol mass spectrometry, AMS) and showed good agreement for some but not all sources. The biomass burning factor in PMF may contain aged aerosols as a good correlation was observed between biomass burning and oxygenated fractions (r2 D0.6–0.7) from AMS. The PMF failed to resolve some sources identified by the CMB and AMS and appears to overestimate the dust sources. A comparison with earlier PMF source apportionment studies from the Beijing area highlights the very divergent findings from application of this method.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14703-14724
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2021


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