Dry and wet deposition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and comparison with typical media in urban system of Shanghai, China

Research paper by Qing Wang, Min Liu, Ye Li, Yankun Liu, Shuwen Li, Rongrong Ge

Indexed on: 06 Oct '16Published on: 01 Sep '16Published in: Atmospheric Environment


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were studied in dry and wet deposition samples collected at urban and suburban sites of Shanghai, China from April 2014 to April 2015. Average wet deposition fluxes of PAHs were higher than dry deposition (62.6 ± 41.5 vs. 26.9 ± 14.4 μg/m2/day). However, dry deposition removed more PAHs than wet deposition (69% vs. 31%) due to much shorter durations of wet deposition. The highest dry and wet deposition fluxes were in fall and winter, respectively. The highest amount of dry deposition was in fall and the highest of wet deposition was in summer. The contribution of wet deposition to total deposited PAHs in Shanghai, East China was higher than that in northern China and lower than that in southern China. The difference can be explained by both precipitation amount and removal efficiency (washout ratio). Average dry deposition velocity and washout ratio of particle-associated PAHs were 5.2 cm/s and 5.8 × 104, respectively. Four sources of deposited PAHs were unraveled by positive matrix factorization (PMF) model: traffic, coal combustion, coking and volatilization, contributing 28.7%, 24.6%, 23.7% and 23.0%, respectively. More contribution of traffic and less coal combustion and volatilization were found at urban than at suburban site. As the connection between aerosol and surface soil, deposition had a different PAH composition from those in the two sides, containing more low MW PAHs. That arose the concern that dry deposition velocity and particle washout ratio could be overestimated if coarse particulate matter was excluded from the calculation. Although deposition has been considered as the predominant pathway of PAHs to urban surface system, the PAH composition in street dust differed drastically from that in deposition. This indicated that other sources (e.g. traffic) in urban system could have a greater contribution to PAHs than it had been identified in deposition samples.

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