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  • Du, Wei; Dada, Lubna; Zhao, Jian; Chen, Xueshun; Dällenbach, Kaspar; Xie, Conghui; Wang, Weigang; He, Yao; Cai, Jing; Yao, Lei; Zhang, Yingjie; Wang, Qingqing; Xu, Weiqi; Wang, Yuying; Tang, Guiqian; Cheng, Xueling; Kokkonen, Tom V.; Zhou, Wei; Yan, Chao; Chu, Biwu; Zha, Qiaozhi; Hakala, Simo; Kurppa, Mona; Jarvi, Leena; Liu, Yongchun; Li, Zhanqing; Ge, Maofa; Fu, Pingqing; Nie, Wei; Bianchi, Federico; Petäjä, Tuukka; Paasonen, Pauli; Wang, Zifa; Worsnop, Douglas R.; Kerminen, Veli-Matti; Kulmala, Markku; Sun, Yele (2021)
    The role of new particle formation (NPF) events and their contribution to haze formation through subsequent growth in polluted megacities is still controversial. To improve the understanding of the sources, meteorological conditions, and chemistry behind air pollution, we performed simultaneous measurements of aerosol composition and particle number size distributions at ground level and at 260 m in central Beijing, China, during a total of 4 months in 2015-2017. Our measurements show a pronounced decoupling of gas-to-particle conversion between the two heights, leading to different haze processes in terms of particle size distributions and chemical compositions. The development of haze was initiated by the growth of freshly formed particles at both heights, whereas the more severe haze at ground level was connected directly to local primary particles and gaseous precursors leading to higher particle growth rates. The particle growth creates a feedback loop, in which a further development of haze increases the atmospheric stability, which in turn strengthens the persisting apparent decoupling between the two heights and increases the severity of haze at ground level. Moreover, we complemented our field observations with model analyses, which suggest that the growth of NPF-originated particles accounted up to similar to 60% of the accumulation mode particles in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area during haze conditions. The results suggest that a reduction in anthropogenic gaseous precursors, suppressing particle growth, is a critical step for alleviating haze although the number concentration of freshly formed particles (3-40 nm) via NPF does not reduce after emission controls.