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Aromatic hydrocarbons as ozone precursors before and after outbreak of the 2008 financial crisis in the Pearl River Delta region, south China

  • Author(s): Zhang, Y
  • Wang, X
  • Blake, DR
  • Li, L
  • Zhang, Z
  • Wang, S
  • Guo, H
  • Lee, FSC
  • Gao, B
  • Chan, L
  • Wu, D
  • Sherwood Rowland, F
  • et al.
Abstract

In the second half of 2008 China's highly industrialized Pearl River Delta (PRD) region was hard-hit by the financial crisis (FC). This study reports volatile organic compounds measured in the PRD during November-December in both 2007 before the FC and 2008 after the FC. While total mixing ratios of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) on average were only about 7% lower from 40.2 ppbv in 2007 to 37.5 ppbv in 2008, their ozone formation potentials (OFPs) dropped about 30%, resulting from about 55% plummet of aromatic hydrocarbons (AHs) against a greater than 20% increase of total alkanes/alkenes. The elevated alkanes and alkenes in 2008 could be explained by greater emissions from vehicle exhausts and LPG combustion due to rapid increase of vehicle numbers and LPG consumption; the drop of AHs could be explained by reduced emissions from industries using AH-containing solvents due to the influence of the FC, as indicated by much lower ratios of toluene to benzene and of xylenes/ trichloroethylene/tetrachloroethylene to carbon monoxide (CO) in 2008. Source apportionment by positive matrix factorization (PMF) also revealed much less contribution of industry solvents to total anthropogenic NMHCs and particularly to toluene and xylenes in 2008 than in 2007. Based on PMF reconstructed source contributions, calculated OFPs by industrial emissions were responsible for 40.8% in 2007 in contrast to 18.4% in 2008. Further investigation into local industry output statistics suggested that the plummet of AHs in 2008 should be attributed to small enterprises, which contributed largely to ambient AHs due to their huge numbers and non-existent emission treatment, but were much more influenced by the FC. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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