Measurement report: comparison of wintertime individual particles at ground level and above the mixed layer in urban Beijing

Wenhua Wang, Longyi Shao*, Claudio Mazzoleni, Yaowei Li, Simone Kotthaus, Sue Grimmond, Janarjan Bhandari, Jiaoping Xing, Xiaolei Feng, Mengyuan Zhang, Zongbo Shi

*Corresponding author for this work

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Beijing has been suffering from frequent severe air pollution events, with concentrations affected significantly by the mixed-layer height. Major efforts have been made to study the physico-chemical properties, compositions, and sources of aerosol particles at ground level. However, little is known about the morphology, elemental composition, and mixing state of aerosol particles above the mixed layer. In this work, we collected individual aerosol particles simultaneously at ground level (2 m above ground) and above the mixed layer in urban Beijing (within the Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese Megacity, APHH-Beijing, 2016 winter campaign). The particles were analyzed offline by transmission electron microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Our results showed that the relative number contribution of mineral particles to all measured particles was much higher during non-haze periods (42.5 %) than haze periods (18.1 %); in contrast, internally mixed particles contributed more during haze periods (21.9 %) than non-haze periods (7.2 %) at ground level. In addition, more mineral particles were found at ground level than above the mixed-layer height. Around 20 % of individual particles showed core-shell structures during haze periods, whereas only a few core-shell particles were observed during non-haze periods (2 %). The results showed that the particles above the mixed layer were more aged, with a larger proportion of organic particles originating from coal combustion. Our results indicate that a large fraction of the airborne particles above the mixed layer come from surrounding areas influenced by coal combustion activities. This source contributes to the surface particle concentrations in Beijing when polluted air is mixed down to the ground level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5301-5314
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 42075107 and 42065007); the International Cooperation Projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 41571130031); the China Scholarship Council (grant no.

Funding Information:
Financial support. This research has been supported by the

Publisher Copyright:
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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