State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry (LAPC), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China. Electronic address: [Email]
To investigate the regional transport and formation mechanisms of submicron aerosols in the North China Plan (NCP), for the first time, we conducted simultaneous combined observations of the non-refractory submicron aerosols (NR-PM1) chemical compositions using aerosol mass spectrometer at urban Beijing (BJ) and at regional background area of the NCP (XL), from November 2018 to January 2019. During the observation period, average mass concentrations of PM1 in BJ and XL were 26.6 ± 31.7 and 16.0 ± 18.7 μg m-3 respectively. The aerosol composition in XL showed a lower contribution of organic aerosol (33% vs. 43%) and higher fractions of nitrate (35% vs. 30%), ammonium (16% vs. 13%), and chlorine (2% vs. 1%) than in BJ. Additionally, a higher contribution of secondary organic aerosol (SOA) was also observed in XL, suggesting low primary emissions and highly oxidized OA in the background area. Nitrate displayed a significantly enhanced contribution with the aggravation of aerosol pollution in both BJ and XL, which was completely neutralized by excess ammonium at both sites, suggesting that the abundant ammonia emissions in the NCP favor nitrate formation on a regional scale. In addition, a higher proportion of nitrate in XL can be attributed to the more neutral and higher oxidation capacity of the background atmosphere. Heterogeneous aqueous reaction plays an important role in sulfate and SOA formation, and is more efficient in BJ which can be attributed to the higher aerosol surface areas at urban site. Regional transport from the southwestern regions of NCP showed a significant impact on the formation of haze episodes. Beside the invasion of transported pollutants, the abundant water vapor associated with the air mass to the downwind background area further enhanced local secondary transformation and expanded the regional scope of the haze pollution in the NCP.