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Characteristics and Source Analysis of Trace Elements in PM2.5 in the Urban Atmosphere of Wuhan in Spring

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 17 | Issue: 9 | Pages: 2224-2234
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.06.0207
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Costanza Acciai1, Zhenyi Zhang 1,2, Fenjuan Wang 1,3, Zhangxiong Zhong4, Giovanni Lonati1

  • 1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano,, Milan 20133, Italy
  • 2 INET, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
  • 3 National Climate Center, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing 100081, China
  • 4 Wuhan Environmental Monitoring Center, Wuhan, HuBei 430015, China


Trace elements in fine particles were measured in spring time.
Four types of emission sources were identified using EF and PMF.
Biomass burning is the dominant source of PM2.5 in Wuhan during spring.
Power plants with bio-waste and bio-related cooking might be the main contributors.


The concentrations of PM2.5 and trace elements with hourly resolution were measured during May 2014 in urban residential area of Wuhan, the biggest city in central China. During the period of measurement, the average temperature was approximate 25°C without domestic heating and cooling. The average concentration of PM2.5 was 95.53 µg m–3, which was higher than the limit of Ambient Air Quality Standard of China GB3095-2012 (75 µg m–3, Level 2). A sand storm original from Northwestern China was also recorded. Concentrations of major trace elements (K, Ca, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Ga, As, Se, Pd, Ag, Cd, Au, Hg, Pb, Co, Sn, Sb, Tl) were comparable to previous studies, except for Ba and Ca with more than doubled concentrations (103 ng m–3, 1,792.49 ng m–3) due to the storm. Enrichment Factor (EF) and Positive Matrix Factorization (PMF) were employed to characterize the emission sources. The computation of EF showed that Zincs was highly enriched. Four sources, biomass burning (63.2%) might mainly related to power plants using bio-waste burning and bio-related cooking activities, metallurgical and steel industries (14%), dust crustal (12.5%) and dust associated with vehicular traffic (10.4%), were identified in decreasing order of average percentage contribution to the PM2.5 mass with the aid of trace elements. The orientations of emission sources were also addressed.


Trace element PM2.5 Enrichment factor Positive matrix factorization Central China

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