Variations and Sources of Organic Aerosol in Winter Beijing under Markedly Reduced Anthropogenic Activities During COVID-2019.
The COVID-19 outbreak provides a "controlled experiment" to investigate the response of aerosol pollution to the reduction of anthropogenic activities. Here we explore the chemical characteristics, variations, and emission sources of organic aerosol (OA) based on the observation of air pollutants and combination of aerosol mass spectrometer (AMS) and positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis in Beijing in early 2020. By eliminating the impacts of atmospheric boundary layer and the Spring Festival, we found that the lockdown effectively reduced cooking-related OA (COA) but influenced fossil fuel combustion OA (FFOA) very little. In contrast, both secondary OA (SOA) and O3 formation was enhanced significantly after lockdown: less-oxidized oxygenated OA (LO-OOA, 37% in OA) was probably an aged product from fossil fuel and biomass burning emission with aqueous chemistry being an important formation pathway, while more-oxidized oxygenated OA (MO-OOA, 41% in OA) was affected by regional transport of air pollutants and related with both aqueous and photochemical processes. Combining FFOA and LO-OOA, more than 50% of OA pollution was attributed to combustion activities during the whole observation period. Our findings highlight that fossil fuel/biomass combustion are still the largest sources of OA pollution, and only controlling traffic and cooking emissions cannot efficiently eliminate the heavy air pollution in winter Beijing.