Tracing human footprint and the fate of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons over the Pearl River Estuary, China : Importance of particle size

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Author(s)

  • Ting-Yu Li
  • Eddy Y. Zeng
  • Jiaxue Wu
  • Paul K. S. Lam

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Article number144267
Journal / PublicationScience of the Total Environment
Volume767
Online published2 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Abstract

Few studies have focus on size-segregated particulate polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the oceanic atmosphere. To better understand the impacts of anthropogenic activities on atmospheric PAHs, a heavily human-impacted estuary, the Pearl River Estuary (PRE), was chosen as a case study. We collected gaseous and size-segregated particulate samples of ambient air at two sites in the PRE, as well as from the exhaust emissions of the cruise ship used in the sampling campaign. In addition, surface seawater samples were collected. Size distribution patterns of high molecular-weight (HMW) particulate PAHs were bimodal at one site and unimodal at the other, suggesting PAHs at the former site were derived not only from long-range atmospheric transport but also from local sources. Gas-particle partition coefficients of HMW PAHs in size-segregated particles varied with particle sizes, mostly higher in fine particles (<1.8 μm). Dry deposition flux of Σ23PAHs (defined as the sum of 23 PAHs) was contributed mainly from coarse particles (>1.8 μm), and HMW PAHs with lower dry deposition velocities could be transported farther away. With respect to air-water exchange, lower MW PAHs tended to have net volatilization, whereas higher MW PAHs were likely to have net deposition. This study sheds new lights on the origins and fate of atmospheric PAHs over the PRE, and suggests the emissions of maritime traffics should be regulated. Collected near the metropolitan regions, atmospheric PAHs over the PRE were highly affected by anthropogenic activities, especially for HMW PAHs, which could pose a long-lasting impact to the oceanic atmosphere and marine organisms.

Research Area(s)

  • Air–water exchange flux, Gas–particle partitioning, Particle dry deposition, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), Size distribution

Citation Format(s)

Tracing human footprint and the fate of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons over the Pearl River Estuary, China : Importance of particle size. / Lao, Jia-Yong; Li, Ting-Yu; Wu, Rongben; Ruan, Yuefei; Zeng, Eddy Y.; Wu, Jiaxue; Lam, Paul K. S.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 767, 144267, 01.05.2021.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review