Source Apportionment of Ambient Carbonyl Compounds Based on a PMF and Source Tracer Ratio Method: A Case Based on Observations in Nanjing

HU Kun1 WANG Ming1 WANG Hong-li2 JING Sheng-ao2 CHEN Wen-tai3 LU Xing-dong1

(1.Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, China 210044)
(2.State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Formation and Prevention of the Urban Air Complex, Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shanghai, China 200233)
(3.Nanjing Intelligent Environmental Sci-Tech Co., Ltd., Nanjing, China 211800)

【Abstract】Ambient carbonyl compounds play an important role in tropospheric atmospheric chemistry. Primary emissions and photochemical formation are both sources of carbonyls, and therefore it is challenging work to analyze their sources. In this study, carbonyl sources were apportioned using the source tracer ratio method (STR) and positive matrix factorization model (PMF) based on offline carbonyls observations at a site in Nanjing during March 2017. Eleven carbonyl compounds were detected, and their total concentrations were in the range of 2.57 × 10−9–22.83 × 10−9. Formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acetone were the main components, accounting for 36.8%, 21.6%, and 18.5% of the average concentration of eleven carbonyl compounds, respectively. The influences of tracer selection and background concentrations on the results of source apportionment using the STR based on comparing the results of acetylene and toluene as tracers and the 5th and 10th percentiles as background concentrations are presented. Five sources were resolved by PMF, including traffic emission, the petrochemical & chemical industry, paint & solvent use, secondary formation & background, and the chemical industry. Secondary formation & background sources were the largest contributors of carbonyl compounds, contributing 56.4%, 48.2%, and 58.3% to formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and acetone, respectively. By comparing the carbonyl source apportionment results by STR and PMF, it was found that the STR depends on the selection of tracers. When the STR is applied in the areas with complex sources, it is difficult to use a tracer to indicate anthropogenic source emissions, and therefore it is not a suitable method for carbonyl source apportionment.

【Keywords】 carbonyl compounds; source apportionment; source tracer ratio method (STR); positive matrix factorization model (PMF); Nanjing;


【Funds】 National Key Research and Development Program of China (2016YFC0202200) National Natural Science Foundation of China (41505113)

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(Translated by WANG YX)


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This Article


CN: 11-1895/X

Vol 42, No. 01, Pages 45-54

January 2021


Article Outline


  • 1 Materials and methods
  • 2 Results and discussion
  • 3 Conclusions
  • References