Molecular Composition, Seasonal Variation, and Size Distribution of n-Alkanes, PAHs, and Saccharides in a Medium-Sized City of Guanzhong Plain, Northwest China: Evaluation of Control Measures Executed in the Past Decade
Toxics , Volume 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics11020164
Abstract: Baoji is a medium-sized city in the Guanzhong Plain of northwest China. The compositions of three important organic groups, namely n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and saccharides in atmospheric aerosol with different aerodynamic diameters in power were determined. Both seasonal and daily trends of the target organic chemical groups were demonstrated. The concentration levels of total quantified n-alkanes and saccharides in total suspended particles (TSP) in winter were 541 ± 39 and 651 ± 74 ng·m−3, respectively, much higher than those of the other three seasons. A high total quantified PAHs concentration level of 59.6 ± 6.4 ng·m−3 was also seen in wintertime. n-Alkanes showed a bimodal percent distribution in spring, autumn, and winter. Two peaks were found with the particle sizes of 0.7 μm < Dp < 2.1 μm and 3.3 μm < Dp < 4.7 μm, respectively. In summer, a unimodal was seen with a peak of 4.7 μm < Dp < 5.8 μm. Dehydrated saccharides and PAHs present a unimodal size distribution peaking at the aerodynamic diameters of 0.7 µm < Dp < 2.1 µm. In contrast to glucose and fructose, they mainly exist in the coarse mode particles and have the highest concentrations at aerodynamic diameters of 4.7 µm < Dp < 9.0 µm. The geometric mean diameters (GMD) of n-alkanes and saccharides of the fine particles in winter were higher than in the other seasons. Compared with the data in 2008, the fossil fuel-derived n-alkanes and PAHs in winter decreased by nearly an order of magnitude in 2017. Both the carbon preference index (CPI) of n-alkanes and the diagnostic ratios of PAHs suggest that coal combustion and vehicle exhaust were the major pollution sources of the organic groups in the two decades. It should be noted that the contribution of traffic emissions greatly increased from 2008 to 2017, consistently with a large raise of registered vehicles in Baoji city. The overall results confirm that the control measures conducted by the local government in the recent decade mitigated the air pollution in this city.
Keywords: n-alkanes / saccharides / PAHs / organic tracers / particle size distribution / pollution reduction
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