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C1-C8 volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere of Hong Kong: Overview of atmospheric processing and source apportionment


We present measurements of C1-C8 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at four sites ranging from urban to rural areas in Hong Kong from September 2002 to August 2003. A total of 248 ambient VOC samples were collected. As expected, the urban and sub-urban sites generally gave relatively high VOC levels. In contrast, the average VOC levels were the lowest in the rural area. In general, higher mixing ratios were observed during winter/spring and lower levels during summer/fall because of seasonal variations of meteorological conditions. A variation of the air mass composition from urban to rural sites was observed. High ratios of ethyne/CO (5.6 pptv/ppbv) and propane/ethane (0.50 pptv/pptv) at the rural site suggested that the air masses over the territory were relatively fresh as compared to other remote regions. The principal component analysis (PCA) with absolute principal component scores (APCS) technique was applied to the VOC data in order to identify and quantify pollution sources at different sites. These results indicated that vehicular emissions made a significant contribution to ambient non-methane VOCs (NMVOCs) levels in urban areas (65±36%) and in sub-urban areas (50±28% and 53±41%). Other sources such as petrol evaporation, industrial emissions and solvent usage also played important roles in the VOC emissions. At the rural site, almost half of the measured total NMVOCs were due to combustion sources (vehicular and/or biomass/biofuel burning). Petrol evaporation, solvent usage, industrial and biogenic emissions also contributed to the atmospheric NMVOCs. The source apportionment results revealed a strong impact of anthropogenic VOCs to the atmosphere of Hong Kong in both urban/sub-urban and rural areas. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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