Composition and sources of carbonaceous aerosols at three contrasting sites in Hong Kong


A significant fraction of the fine particulate matter in Hong Kong is made up of organic carbon. In order to quantitatively assess the contributions of various sources to carbonaceous aerosol in Hong Kong, a chemical mass balance (CMB) receptor model in combination with organic tracers was employed. Organic tracers including n-alkanes, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), steranes, hopanes, resin acids, cholesterol, levoglucosan, and picene in PM2.5 collected from three air monitoring sites located at roadside, urban, and rural areas in Hong Kong are quantified using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) in the present study. Analyses of some overlapping species from two separate laboratories will be compared for the first time. Spatial and seasonal source contributions to organic carbon (OC) in PM2.5 from up to nine air pollution sources are assessed, including diesel engine exhaust, gasoline engine exhaust, meat cooking, cigarette smoke, biomass burning, road dust, vegetative detritus, coal combustion, and natural gas combustion. Diesel engine exhaust dominated fine organic carbon in Hong Kong (57 ± 13% at urban sites and 25 ± 2% at the rural site). Other sources that play an important role are meat cooking and biomass burning, which can account for as much as 14% of fine organic carbon. The primary sources identified by this technique explained 49%, 79%, and 94% of the measured fine organic carbon mass concentration at the rural, the urban, and the roadside sites, respectively. The unexplained fine OC is likely due to secondary organic aerosol formation. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.