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Accessing the Impact of Sea-Salt Emissions on Aerosol Chemical Formation and Deposition over Pearl River Delta, China

Category: Physical and Chemical Characteristics of Aerosols

Volume: 15 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 2232-2245
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.02.0127

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Yiming Liu1, Shuting Zhang1, Qi Fan 1, Dui Wu2, Pakwai Chan3, Xuemei Wang1, Shaojia Fan1, Yerong Feng4, Yingying Hong1

  • 1 School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • 2 Institutes of Technology on Atmospheric Environmental Safety and Pollution Control, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • 3 Hong Kong Observatory, Hong Kong 999077, China
  • 4 Key Laboratory of Regional Numerical Weather Prediction, Guangzhou 510080, China


The impact of sea salt emissions on aerosol was quantified.
The impacts of sea salt emissions in the inland and coastal areas were compared.
The impact of sea salt emission on atmospheric processes was discussed.


Sea-salt aerosol (SSA) emissions have a significant impact on aerosol pollution and haze formation in the coastal areas. In this study, the Models-3/CMAQ modeling system was utilized to access the impact of SSA emissions on aerosol chemical formation and deposition over Pearl River Delta (PRD), China in July 2006. More SSAs were transported inland from the open-ocean under the southeast wind in summertime. Two experiments (with and without SSA emissions in the CMAQ model) were set up to compare the modeling results with each other. The results showed that the increase of sulfate concentrations was more attributable to the primary emissions of coarse SO42– particles in SSA, while the increase of nitrate concentrations were more attributable to secondary chemical formations, known as the mechanisms of chloride depletion in SSA. In the coastal areas, 17.6 % of SO42–, 26.6% of NO3 and 38.2% of PM10 concentrations were attributed to SSA emissions, while those portions were less than 1% in the inland areas. The increases of PM10 and its components due to SSA emissions resulted in higher deposition fluxes over PRD, particularly in the coastal areas, except for the wet deposition of nitrate. Nitrate was more sensitive to SSA emissions in chemical formations than sulfate and dry deposition of aerosol was also more sensitive than that for wet deposition. Process analysis of sulfate and nitrate was applied to find out the difference of physical and chemical mechanisms between Guangzhou (the inland areas) and Zhuhai (the coastal areas). The negative contributions of dry deposition process to both sulfate and nitrate concentrations increased if SSA emissions were taken into account in the model, especially in Zhuhai. The negative contributions of cloud process also increased due to cloud scavenging and wet deposition process. In the coastal area, the gas-to-particle conversions became more active with high contributions of aerosol process to nitrate concentrations.


Sea-salt emissions Aerosol Chemical formation Deposition Pearl River Delta

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