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Assessing photochemical ozone formation in the Pearl River Delta with a photochemical trajectory model

  • Author(s): Cheng, HR;
  • Guo, H;
  • Saunders, SM;
  • Lam, SHM;
  • Jiang, F;
  • Wang, XM;
  • Simpson, IJ;
  • Blake, DR;
  • Louie, PKK;
  • Wang, TJ
  • et al.

A photochemical trajectory model (PTM), coupled with the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) describing the degradation of 139 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the troposphere, was developed and used for the first time to simulate the formation of photochemical pollutants at Wangqingsha (WQS), Guangzhou during photochemical pollution episodes between 12 and 17 November, 2007. The simulated diurnal variations and mixing ratios of ozone were in good agreement with observed data (R2=0.80, P<0.05), indicating that the photochemical trajectory model - an integration of boundary layer trajectories, precursor emissions and chemical processing - provides a reasonable description of ozone formation in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. Calculated photochemical ozone creation potential (POCP) indices for the region indicated that alkanes and oxygenated organic compounds had relatively low reactivity, while alkenes and aromatics presented high reactivity, as seen in other airsheds in Europe. Analysis of the emission inventory found that the sum of 60 of the 139 VOC species accounted for 92% of the total POCP-weighted emission. The 60 VOC species include C2-C6 alkenes, C6-C8 aromatics, biogenic VOCs, and so on. The results indicated that regional scale ozone formation in the PRD region can be mainly attributed to a relatively small number of VOC species, namely isoprene, ethene, m-xylene, and toluene, etc. A further investigation of the relative contribution of the main emission source categories to ozone formation suggested that mobile sources were the largest contributor to regional O3 formation (40%), followed by biogenic sources (29%), VOC product-related sources (23%), industry (6%), biomass burning (1%), and power plants (1%). The findings obtained in this study would advance our knowledge of air quality in the PRD region, and provide useful information to local government on effective control of photochemical smog in the region. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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