Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-736
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2024-736
22 Mar 2024
 | 22 Mar 2024
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Characterizing water solubility of fresh and aged secondary organic aerosol in PM2.5 with the stable carbon isotope technique

Fenghua Wei, Xing Peng, Liming Cao, Mengxue Tang, Ning Feng, Xiaofeng Huang, and Lingyan He

Abstract. The investigation of the water-soluble characteristics of secondary organic carbon (SOC) is essential for a more comprehensive understanding of its climate effects. However, due to the limitations of the existing source apportionment methods, the water solubility of different types of SOC remains uncertain. This study analyzed stable carbon isotope and mass spectra signatures of total carbon (TC) and water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) in ambient PM2.5 samples for one year and established stable carbon isotope profiles of fresh and aged SOC. Furthermore, the Bayesian stable isotope mixing (BSIM) model was employed to reveal the water solubility characteristics of fresh and aged SOC in a coastal megacity of China. WSOC was dominated by secondary sources, with fresh and aged SOC contributing 28.1 % and 45.2 %, respectively. Water-insoluble organic carbon (WIOC) was dominated by primary sources, to which fresh and aged SOC contributed 23.2 % and 13.4 %. We also found the aging degree of SOC has considerable impacts on its water solubility due to the much higher water-soluble fraction of aged SOC (76.5 %) than fresh SOC (54.2 %). Findings of this study may provide a new perspective for further investigation of the hygroscopicity effects of SOC with different aging degrees on light extinction and climate change.

Fenghua Wei, Xing Peng, Liming Cao, Mengxue Tang, Ning Feng, Xiaofeng Huang, and Lingyan He

Status: open (until 03 May 2024)

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  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2024-736', Anonymous Referee #1, 10 Apr 2024 reply
Fenghua Wei, Xing Peng, Liming Cao, Mengxue Tang, Ning Feng, Xiaofeng Huang, and Lingyan He
Fenghua Wei, Xing Peng, Liming Cao, Mengxue Tang, Ning Feng, Xiaofeng Huang, and Lingyan He

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Short summary
The water solubility of secondary organic aerosols (SOA) is a crucial factor in determining their hygroscopicity and climatic impact. Stable carbon isotope and mass spectrometry techniques were combined to assess the water solubility of SOA with different aging degrees in a coastal megacity in China. This work revealed a much higher water-soluble fraction of aged SOA compared to fresh SOA, indicating that the aging degree of SOA has considerable impacts on its water solubility.