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Chlorine oxidation of VOCs at a semi-rural site in Beijing: significant chlorine liberation from ClNO2 and subsequent gas- and particle-phase Cl-VOC production

Journal article
Authors Michael Le Breton
Ravi K. Pathak
D. Simpson
Y. J. Wang
J. Johansson
J. Zheng
Y. D. Yang
D. J. Shang
H. C. Wang
Q. Y. Liu
C. Chan
T. Wang
T. J. Bannan
M. Priestley
C. J. Percival
D. E. Shallcross
K. D. Lu
S. Guo
M. Hu
Mattias Hallquist
Published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume 18
Issue 17
Pages 13013-13030
ISSN 1680-7316
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology
Pages 13013-13030
Language en
Keywords secondary organic aerosol, n2o5 uptake coefficients, nitryl chloride, boundary-layer, mass-spectrometer, initiated oxidation, ozone, production, high-resolution, atom chemistry, northern china, Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Subject categories Environmental Sciences, Environmental chemistry, Climate Research, Earth and Related Environmental Sciences, Spectroscopy, Organic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Physical Sciences, Chemical Sciences


Nitryl chloride (ClNO2) accumulation at night acts as a significant reservoir for active chlorine and impacts the following day's photochemistry when the chlorine atom is liberated at sunrise. Here, we report simultaneous measurements of N2O5 and a suite of inorganic halogens including ClNO2 and reactions of chloride with volatile organic compounds (Cl-VOCs) in the gas and particle phases utilising the Filter Inlet for Gas and AEROsols time-of-flight chemical ionisation mass spectrometer (FIGAERO-ToF-CIMS) during an intensive measurement campaign 40 km northwest of Beijing in May and June 2016. A maximum mixing ratio of 2900 ppt of ClNO2 was observed with a mean campaign nighttime mixing ratio of 487 ppt, appearing to have an anthropogenic source supported by correlation with SO2, CO and benzene, which often persisted at high levels after sunrise until midday. This was attributed to such high mixing ratios persisting after numerous e-folding times of the photolytic lifetime enabling the chlorine atom production to reach 2.3 x 10(5) molecules cm(-3) from ClNO2 alone, peaking at 09:30 LT and up to 8.4 x 10(5) molecules cm(-3) when including the supporting inorganic halogen measurements. Cl-VOCs were observed in the particle and gas phases for the first time at high time resolution and illustrate how the iodide ToF-CIMS can detect unique markers of chlorine atom chemistry in ambient air from both biogenic and anthropogenic sources. Their presence and abundance can be explained via time series of their measured and steady-state calculated precursors, enabling the assessment of competing OH and chlorine atom oxidation via measurements of products from both of these mechanisms and their relative contribution to secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation.

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