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Size distributions of aerosol sulfates and nitrates in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games: Impacts of pollution control measures and regional transport

Journal article
Authors X. F. Wang
T. Wang
Ravi K. Pathak
Mattias Hallquist
X. M. Gao
W. Nie
L. K. Xue
J. Gao
R. Gao
Q. Z. Zhang
W. X. Wang
S. L. Wang
F. H. Chai
Y. Z. Chen
Published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences
Volume 30
Issue 2
Pages 341-353
ISSN 0256-1530
Publication year 2013
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 341-353
Language en
Keywords size distribution, aerosol, sulfate, nitrate, control effect, Olympic Games, air-quality, ionic compositions, ambient air, china, particles, pm2.5, pollutants, summer, guangzhou, climate
Subject categories Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences


For the 2008 Olympic Games, drastic control measures were implemented on industrial and urban emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NO (x) ) and other pollutants to address the issues of poor air quality in Beijing. To investigate the effects of SO2 and NO (x) reductions on the particulate sulfate and nitrate concentrations as well as their size distributions, size-segregated aerosol samples were collected using micro-orifice uniform deposit impactors (MOUDIs) at urban and downwind rural sites in Beijing before and after full-scale controls. During the sampling period, the mass concentrations of fine particles (PM1.8) at the urban and rural sites were 94.0 and 85.9 mu g m(-3), respectively. More than 90% of the sulfates and similar to 60% of nitrates formed as fine particles. Benefiting from the advantageous meteorological conditions and the source controls, sulfates were observed in rather low concentrations and primarily in condensation mode during the Olympics. The effects of the control measures were separately analyzed for the northerly and the southerly air-mass-dominated days to account for any bias. After the control measures were implemented, PM, sulfates, and nitrates were significantly reduced when the northerly air masses prevailed, with a higher percentage of reduction in larger particles. The droplet mode particles, which dominated the sulfates and nitrates before the controls were implemented, were remarkably reduced in mass concentration after the control measures were implemented. Nevertheless, when the polluted southerly air masses prevailed, the local source control measures in Beijing did not effectively reduce the ambient sulfate concentration due to the enormous regional contribution from the North China Plain.

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