Variation of ambient carbonyl levels in urban Beijing between 2005 and 2012


Chen WT, Shao M, Wang M, Lu SH, Liu Y, Yuan B, Yang YD, Zeng LM, Chen ZM, Chang CC, et al. Variation of ambient carbonyl levels in urban Beijing between 2005 and 2012. Atmospheric Environment. 2016;129:105-113.


Carbonyl compounds are important precursors of secondary air pollutants. With the rapid economic development and the implementation of stricter control measures in Beijing, the sources of carbonyls possibly changed. Based on measurement data obtained at an urban site in Beijing between 2005 and 2012, we investigated annual variations in carbonyl levels and sources during these years. In summer, formaldehyde and acetaldehyde levels decreased significantly at a rate of 9.1%/year and 7.2%/year, respectively, while acetone levels increased at a rate of 4.3%/year. In winter, formaldehyde levels increased and acetaldehyde levels decreased. We also investigated the factors driving the variation in carbonyls levels during summer by determination of emission ratios for carbonyls and their precursors, and calculation of photochemical formation of carbonyls. The relative declines for primary formaldehyde and acetaldehyde levels were larger than those for secondary formation. This is possibly due to the increasing usage of natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas which could result in the rise of carbonyl precursor emission ratios. The increase in acetone levels might be related to the rising solvent usage in Beijing during these years. The influences of these sources should be paid more attention in future research.