A chemical cocktail during the COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing, China: Insights from six-year aerosol particle composition measurements during the Chinese New Year holiday
Worsnop, Douglas R.
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The rapidly spread coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has limited people's outdoor activities and hence caused substantial reductions in anthropogenic emissions around the world. However, the air quality in some megacities has not been improved as expected due to the complex responses of aerosol chemistry to the changes in precursors and meteorology. Here we demonstrate the responses of primary and secondary aerosol species to the changes in anthropogenic emissions during the COVID-19 outbreak in Beijing, China along with the Chinese New Year (CNY) holiday effects on air pollution by using six-year aerosol particle composition measurements. Our results showed large reductions in primary aerosol species associated with traffic, cooking and coal combustion emissions by 30–50% on average during the CNY, while the decreases in secondary aerosol species were much small (5–12%). These results point towards a future challenge in mitigating secondary air pollution because the reduced gaseous precursors may not suppress secondary aerosol formation efficiently under stagnant meteorological conditions. By analyzing the long-term measurements from 2012 to 2020, we found considerable increases in the ratios of nitrate to sulfate, secondary to primary OA, and sulfur and nitrogen oxidation capacity despite the overall decreasing trends in mass concentrations of most aerosol species, suggesting that the decreases in anthropogenic emissions have facilitated secondary formation processes during the last decade.
Link to resourcehttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140739
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