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Atmospheric Measurement Techniques An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 11, issue 2 | Copyright
Atmos. Meas. Tech., 11, 1049-1060, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/amt-11-1049-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 23 Feb 2018

Research article | 23 Feb 2018

Improved source apportionment of organic aerosols in complex urban air pollution using the multilinear engine (ME-2)

Qiao Zhu1, Xiao-Feng Huang1, Li-Ming Cao1, Lin-Tong Wei1, Bin Zhang1, Ling-Yan He1, Miriam Elser2, Francesco Canonaco2, Jay G. Slowik2, Carlo Bozzetti2, Imad El-Haddad2, and André S. H. Prévôt2 Qiao Zhu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Urban Habitat Environmental Science and Technology, School of Environment and Energy, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, Shenzhen, 518055, China
  • 2Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), 5232 Villigen-PSI, Switzerland

Abstract. Organic aerosols (OAs), which consist of thousands of complex compounds emitted from various sources, constitute one of the major components of fine particulate matter. The traditional positive matrix factorization (PMF) method often apportions aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) organic datasets into less meaningful or mixed factors, especially in complex urban cases. In this study, an improved source apportionment method using a bilinear model of the multilinear engine (ME-2) was applied to OAs collected during the heavily polluted season from two Chinese megacities located in the north and south with an Aerodyne high-resolution aerosol mass spectrometer (HR-ToF-AMS). We applied a rather novel procedure for utilization of prior information and selecting optimal solutions, which does not necessarily depend on other studies. Ultimately, six reasonable factors were clearly resolved and quantified for both sites by constraining one or more factors: hydrocarbon-like OA (HOA), cooking-related OA (COA), biomass burning OA (BBOA), coal combustion (CCOA), less-oxidized oxygenated OA (LO-OOA) and more-oxidized oxygenated OA (MO-OOA). In comparison, the traditional PMF method could not effectively resolve the appropriate factors, e.g., BBOA and CCOA, in the solutions. Moreover, coal combustion and traffic emissions were determined to be primarily responsible for the concentrations of PAHs and BC, respectively, through the regression analyses of the ME-2 results.

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Organic aerosol constitutes one of the major components of atmospheric particulate matter globally and is emitted from various sources. Therefore, identifying and quantifying the sources of organic aerosol accurately is a key task in the field. In this study, we applied a rather novel procedure for an improved source apportionment method (ME-2) to resolve the less meaningful or mixed factors problems for organic aerosol using the traditional method (PMF).
Organic aerosol constitutes one of the major components of atmospheric particulate matter...
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