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Regional Characteristics of Air Pollutants during Heavy Haze Events in the Yangtze River Delta, China

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 16 | Issue: 9 | Pages: 2159-2171
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.09.0551
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Honglei Wang 1, Bin Zhu1, Lijuan Shen2, Honghui Xu3, Junlin An1, Chen Pan1, Yue'e Li4, Duanyang Liu5

  • 1 Key Laboratory of Meteorological Disaster, Ministry of Education(KLME), Joint International Research Laboratory of Climate and Environment Change(ILCEC), Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Key Laboratory for Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation of China Meteorological Administration, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
  • 2 Jiaxing Environmental Monitoring Station, Jiaxing 314000, China
  • 3 Zhejiang Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Hangzhou 310008, China
  • 4 Suzhou Environmental Monitoring Station, Suzhou 215004, China
  • 5 Wuxi Meteorological Observatory of Jiangsu Province, Wuxi 214101, China


Analysis PM2.5 and trace gases in ten cities in YRD.
Geographical effect of distributions of pollutants during haze.
Size-resolved, water-soluble ions in five cities in YRD.
Secondary formation is very important during regional haze.


There were 6 severe haze events over a large area of the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region in January 2013. In this study, based on the hourly concentrations of trace gases and PM2.5 at 10 observation stations (8 city stations, 1 regional background station and 1 island station) during Jan. 1–31, 2013 as well as the concentrations of water-soluble ions at 5 stations (4 city stations and 1 regional background station) during Jan. 18–24, 2013 in the YRD region, the regional characteristics of the air pollutants during heavy haze episodes were investigated in combination with the atmospheric circulation patterns. The concentrations of PM2.5 on haze days were 1.6–2.4-fold higher than on clear days. The concentration of PM2.5, SO2, NO2 and CO increased significantly, with average values of 128.6, 48.5, 78.1 µg m–3 and 1.5 mg m–3 on haze days, and were 64.6, 36, 52.5 µg m–3 and 1.1 mg m–3 on clear days. The PM2.5 concentration of ten observation sites had positive correlations with CO and NO2, and had weakly negative correlations with O3. The sources of PM2.5, SO2, NO2 and CO were strong in inland cities and weak in coastal cities, and the sources of O3 were mainly from Wuxi, Suzhou and southeast of An’hui. The mass and water-soluble ion concentrations were both centralized in PM2.1 during the haze events; additionally, the NH4+, SO42– and NO3 ions were dominant, constituting 86–90.9% of the total ion concentrations in PM2.1. The mass spectra of NH4+, K+, Cl, SO42–, F–, NO2 and NO3 had unimodal distributions. The secondary formations of sulfate dominated on haze days, and the nitrate oxidation rates were relatively high for inland cities and low for coastal cities.


Haze Yangtze River Delta PM2.5 Trace gases Water-soluble ions

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