Source Apportionment of PM2.5 in Beijing by Positive Matrix Factorization

Yu Song, Yuanhang Zhang, Shaodong Xie, Limin Zeng, Mei Zheng, Lynn G. Salmon, Min Shao and Sjaak Slanina
Atmospheric Environment 40 (2006) 1526-1537


Air pollution associated with atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5, i.e., particles with an aerodynamic diameter of 2.5 µm or less) is a serious problem in Beijing, China. To provide a better understanding of the previous sources contributing to PM2.5, 24-h samples were collected at 6-day intervals in January, April, July, and October in 2000 at five locations in the Beijing metropolitan area. Both backward trajectory and elemental analyses identified two dust storm events; the distinctly low value of Ca:Si (<0.2) and high Al:Ca (>1.7) in Beijing PM2.5 appear indicative of contributions from dust storms. Positive matrix factorization (PMF) was used to apportion previous sources of PM2.5, and eight previous sources were identified: biomass burning (11%), secondary sulfates (17%), secondary nitrates (14%), coal combustion (19%), industry (6%), motor vehicles (6%), road dust (9%), and yellow dust. The lower organic carbon (OC), elemental carbon (EC), SO2, and Ca values of yellow dust enable it to be distinguished from road dust. The PMF method resolved 82% of PM2.5 mass concentrations and showed excellent agreement with a previous calculation using organic tracers in a chemical mass balance (CMB) model. The present study is the first reported comparison between a PMF source apportionment model and a molecular marker-based CMB in Beijing.

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