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Observations of C1-C5 alkyl nitrates in the Yellow River Delta, northern China: Effects of biomass burning and oil field emissions.

  • Author(s): Zhang, Yingnan
  • Sun, Jingjing
  • Zheng, Penggang
  • Chen, Tianshu
  • Liu, Yuhong
  • Han, Guangxuan
  • Simpson, Isobel J
  • Wang, Xinfeng
  • Blake, Donald R
  • Li, Zeyuan
  • Yang, Xue
  • Qi, Yanbin
  • Wang, Qi
  • Wang, Wenxing
  • Xue, Likun
  • et al.

Alkyl nitrates (RONO2) are important reservoirs of nitrogen oxides and play key roles in the tropospheric chemistry. Two phases of intensive campaigns were conducted during February-April and June-July of 2017 at a rural coastal site and in open oil fields of the Yellow River Delta region, northern China. C1-C5 alkyl nitrates showed higher concentration levels in summer than in winter-spring (p < 0.01), whilst their parent hydrocarbons showed an opposite seasonal variation pattern. The C3-C5 RONO2 levels in the oil fields were significantly higher than those in the ambient rural air. Alkyl nitrates showed well-defined diurnal variations, elucidating the effects of in-situ photochemical production and regional transport of aged polluted plumes. Backward trajectory analysis and fire maps revealed the significant contribution of biomass burning to the observed alkyl nitrates and hydrocarbons. A simplified sequential reaction model and an observation-based chemical box model were deployed to diagnose the formation mechanisms of C1-C5 RONO2. The C3-C5 RONO2 were mainly produced from the photochemical oxidation of their parent hydrocarbons (i.e., C3-C5 alkanes), whilst C1-C2 RONO2 compounds have additional sources. In addition to parent hydrocarbons, longer alkanes with >4 carbon atoms were also important precursors of alkyl nitrates in the oil fields. This study demonstrates the significant effects of oil field emissions and biomass burning on the volatile organic compounds and alkyl nitrate formation, and provides scientific support for the formulation of control strategies against photochemical air pollution in the Yellow River Delta region.

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