Source apportionment of fine organic carbon at an urban site of Beijing using a chemical mass balance model

Jingsha Xu, Di Liu, Xuefang Wu, Tuan V. Vu, Yanli Zhang, Pingqing Fu, Yele Sun, Weiqi Xu, Bo Zheng, Roy M. Harrison, Zongbo Shi

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Fine particles were sampled from 9 November to 11 December 2016 and 22 May to 24 June 2017 as part of the Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese Megacity (APHH-China) field campaigns in urban Beijing, China. Inorganic ions, trace elements, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and organic compounds, including biomarkers, hopanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), n-alkanes, and fatty acids, were determined for source apportionment in this study. Carbonaceous components contributed on average 47.2 % and 35.2 % of total reconstructed PM2.5 during the winter and summer campaigns, respectively. Secondary inorganic ions (sulfate, nitrate, ammonium; SNA) accounted for 35.0 % and 45.2 % of total PM2.5 in winter and summer. Other components including inorganic ions (K+, Na+, Cl−), geological minerals, and trace metals only contributed 13.2 % and 12.4 % of PM2.5 during the winter and summer campaigns. Fine OC was explained by seven primary sources (industrial and residential coal burning, biomass burning, gasoline and diesel vehicles, cooking, and vegetative detritus) based on a chemical mass balance (CMB) receptor model. It explained an average of 75.7 % and 56.1 % of fine OC in winter and summer, respectively. Other (unexplained) OC was compared with the secondary OC (SOC) estimated by the EC-tracer method, with correlation coefficients (R2) of 0.58 and 0.73 and slopes of 1.16 and 0.80 in winter and summer, respectively. This suggests that the unexplained OC by the CMB model was mostly associated with SOC. PM2.5 apportioned by the CMB model showed that the SNA and secondary organic matter were the two highest contributors to PM2.5. After these, coal combustion and biomass burning were also significant sources of PM2.5 in winter. The CMB results were also compared with results from the positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis of co-located aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) data. The CMB model was found to resolve more primary organic aerosol (OA) sources than AMS-PMF, but the latter could apportion secondary OA sources. The AMS-PMF results for major components, such as coal combustion OC and oxidized OC, correlated well with the results from the CMB model. However, discrepancies and poor agreements were found for other OC sources, such as biomass burning and cooking, some of which were not identified in AMS-PMF factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7321-7341
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We acknowledge the support from Zifa Wang and Jie Li from IAP for hosting the APHH-Beijing campaigns at IAP. We also thank Alastair Lewis, William Dixon, Marvin Shaw, and Stefan Swift from the University of York, Siyao Yue, Liang-fang Wei, Hong Ren, Qiaorong Xie, Wanyu Zhao, Linjie Li, Ping Li, Shengjie Hou, and Qingqing Wang from IAP, Kebin He and Xi-aoting Chen from Tsinghua University, and James Allan and Hugh Coe from the University of Manchester for providing logistic and scientific support during the field campaigns.

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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