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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2016, Vol. 10 Issue (1) : 53-62
Long-term trends of fine particulate matter and chemical composition in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (PRDEZ), China
Xuemei WANG1,Weihua CHEN1,Duohong CHEN2,Zhiyong WU1,Qi Fan1,*()
1. School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
2. Guangdong Environmental Monitoring Center, Guangzhou 510275, China
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Understanding the trends in PM2.5 levels is essential for formulating clean air plans. This paper analyzes PM2.5 data from various published sources for the years 2000 to 2010 in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (PRDEZ). The long-term variation in PM2.5 mass concentration is analyzed. Results show that PM2.5, organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), and SO42 show a similar trend, increasing before 2005 and then decreasing slightly. The annual average PM2.5 concentration ranges from 49.1 μg·m−3 in 2000 to 64.3 μg·m−3 in 2010, with a peak of 84.1 μg·m−3 in 2004. None of these 11 years meets the new National Ambient Air Quality standard (NAAQS) for PM2.5 (35 μg·m−3). Overall average concentrations of OC, EC, and SO42 are 13.0, 6.5, and 11.8 μg·m−3, respectively. NO3 and NH4+ respectively have concentrations of 1.5 μg·m−3 and 2.9 μg·m−3 in 2000 and 6.4 μg·m−3 and 5.3 μg·m−3 in 2010, with a statistically significant average annual trend of+ 0.2 μg·m−3·yr−1 and+ 0.1 μg·m−3·yr−1. In certain geographic regions, OC and EC contribute most of the PM2.5, while in other regions secondary water-soluble ions are more important. In general, OC and SO42 are the dominant components of PM2.5, contributing 20.6% and 18.6%, respectively. These results provide, for the first time, a better understanding of the long-term PM2.5 characteristics and trends, on a species-by-species basis, in the PRDEZ. The results indicate that PM2.5 abatement needs to prioritize secondary species.

Keywords long-term trends      fine particulate matter      chemical components      Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (PRDEZ)     
Corresponding Author(s): Qi Fan   
Online First Date: 12 June 2014    Issue Date: 03 December 2015
 Cite this article:   
Xuemei WANG,Weihua CHEN,Duohong CHEN, et al. Long-term trends of fine particulate matter and chemical composition in the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone (PRDEZ), China[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(1): 53-62.
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Xuemei WANG
Weihua CHEN
Duohong CHEN
Zhiyong WU
Qi Fan
Fig.1  Topography of PRDEZ and location of monitoring stations
standard deviation40.
Tab.1  Summary statistics for concentration of PM2.5 and its chemical components from 2000 to 2010 in PRDEZ
Fig.2  Whisker-box plot of trends in the concentration of PM2.5 and its chemical components from 2000 to 2010 (the red dashed and dotted lines connote annual average values and linear fitting lines). In each box, the central mark is the average value, the edges of the box are 25th and 75th percentiles, the lower and upper edges which out of the box are minimum and maximum; (a) PM2.5, (b) OC, (c) EC, (d) SO42, (e) NO3, (f) NH4+
Fig.3  Time series of annual average concentration of air pollutants in PRDEZ excluding ZQ and HZ from 2000 to 2010; (a) SO2, (b)NO2, and (c) PM10
Fig.4  Whisker plot of time series of the mass ratio of NO3 to SO42 between 2000 and 2010 in PRDEZ
Fig.5  Whisker plot of time series of annual average molar ratio of NH4+ to SO42 between 2000 and 2010 in PRDEZ
Fig.6  Proportion of secondary species in PM2.5 from 2000 to 2010 in PRDEZ
Fig.7  Whisker-box plots of concentration of PM2.5 and its chemical components between 2000 and 2010 in different functional areas; (a) PM2.5, (b) OC, (c) EC, (d) SO42, (e) NO3, (f) NH4+
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