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Particle-Phase Photoreactions of HULIS and TMIs Establish a Strong Source of H2O2 and Particulate Sulfate in the Winter North China Plain

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 19:06 authored by Can Ye, Hui Chen, Erik H. Hoffmann, Peter Mettke, Andreas Tilgner, Lin He, Anke Mutzel, Martin Brüggemann, Laurent Poulain, Thomas Schaefer, Bernd Heinold, Zhuobiao Ma, Pengfei Liu, Chaoyang Xue, Xiaoxi Zhao, Chenglong Zhang, Fei Zhang, Hao Sun, Qing Li, Lin Wang, Xin Yang, Jinhe Wang, Cheng Liu, Chengzhi Xing, Yujing Mu, Jianmin Chen, Hartmut Herrmann
During haze periods in the North China Plain, extremely high NO concentrations have been observed, commonly exceeding 1 ppbv, preventing the classical gas-phase H2O2 formation through HO2 recombination. Surprisingly, H2O2 mixing ratios of about 1 ppbv were observed repeatedly in winter 2017. Combined field observations and chamber experiments reveal a photochemical in-particle formation of H2O2, driven by transition metal ions (TMIs) and humic-like substances (HULIS). In chamber experiments, steady-state H2O2 mixing ratios of 116 ± 83 pptv were observed upon the irradiation of TMI- and HULIS-containing particles. Correspondingly, H2O2 formation rates of about 0.2 ppbv h–1 during the initial irradiation periods are consistent with the H2O2 rates observed in the field. A novel chemical mechanism was developed explaining the in-particle H2O2 formation through a sequence of elementary photochemical reactions involving HULIS and TMIs. Dedicated box model studies of measurement periods with relative humidity >50% and PM2.5 ≥ 75 μg m–3 agree with the observed H2O2 concentrations and time courses. The modeling results suggest about 90% of the particulate sulfate to be produced from the SO2 reaction with OH and HSO3 oxidation by H2O2. Overall, under high pollution, the H2O2-caused sulfate formation rate is above 250 ng m–3 h–1, contributing to the sulfate formation by more than 70%.