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Source Identification of Acid Rain Arising over Northeast China: Observed Evidence and Model Simulation

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 16 | Issue: 6 | Pages: 1366-1377
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0294
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Baozhu Ge1, Zifa Wang 1, Alex E. Gbaguidi2, Qingxin Zhang3

  • 1 State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China
  • 2 AECOM-Asia, Shatin, Hong Kong
  • 3 Liaoning Environmental Monitoring & Experiment Center, Liaoning, China


Northeast China was evidenced the arisen of acid rain.
We identified the possible sources based on the measurement analysis.
The sources were different between rural and urban areas.
Long-range transport in-cloud and high wet scavenge were the plausible triggers.


Acid rain has already been the environment issue for the past century and is still concerned in Southern and Eastern China. However, Northeastern China, considered in the past as non-acid rain area, is reported high frequency of acid rain occurred recently. Through a measurement and model simulation analysis with linear regression technique, factor speciation, backward trajectory, source-tracing and fraction sampling methods, this study aims to investigate the causes of the acid rain frequently occurred in the two Northeastern cities (i.e., Dandong and Dalian) and to identify the contributing sources of the chemical ions in precipitation. The annual averaged pHvwa of 2007 ranged within 4.15–4.27 and 4.5–5.15 over Dandong and Dalian, which suggested the similar acidity with Southern China. The precipitation acidity in Dandong was found to be sulfur dominant in winter-spring (nssSO42–/NO3 = 13.1) than summer-autumn (nssSO42–/NO3 = 1.05), whereas in Dalian, estimated ratio nssSO42–/NO3 was about 2.35 all over the year, reflecting the strong impact of local NOx emissions from a much more intense mobile traffic in comparison with Dandong. The findings also revealed a typical physico-chemical condition with constant strong influence of regional transport over Dandong and Dalian particularly in summer. Besides, analysis of washout and rainout mechanisms showed that the long range transport in-cloud (rainout) was more pronounced in Dandong (with minor local emissions) than Dalian (with more significant local emissions). This study indicates that acid rain pollution in Northeastern China requires much effort, not only in local emission abatement, but also in regional trans-boundary pollution control.


Acid rain Northeast China Precipitation chemistry Scavenge Source identification

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