Spatial and Temporal Variability of the PM2.5/PM10 Ratio in Wuhan, Central China

Gang Xu, Limin Jiao, Boen Zhang, Suli Zhao, Man Yuan, Yanyan Gu, Jiafeng Liu, Xin Tang


Fine particles (PM2.5) and coarse particles (PM2.5–10) are generally produced by different sources, so the PM2.5/PM10 ratio reveals characteristics of particle pollution. The ratio can be used to characterize the underlying atmospheric processes and evaluate historical PM2.5 pollution in absence of direct measurements. However, application of the ratio needs its varying pattern because PM concentrations change significantly at time and space. Hourly PM2.5 and PM10 observations at nine monitoring sites in urban area (Urban-sites) and one remote Background-site in Wuhan in 2013–2015 were collected to investigate both long-term, short-term temporal variation and spatial distribution, spatial disparity of the ratio at a city scale. The results show that annual average PM2.5/PM10 ratio is 0.62 at Urban-sites and 0.68 at Background-site with apparent seasonal, monthly and daily variations. The ratio reaches the maximum in winter because of stable atmospheric conditions. There are apparent night-day differences of daily variation of the ratio, which increases at night in all seasons in consequence of temperature inversion and declines in the daytime with a moderate rise in the afternoon. We find obvious spatial gradients of the ratio that gradually increases from urban core to urban fringe and to suburban. This study provides further insights to the spatio-temporal variability of PM2.5/PM10 ratio. The evidence indicates that the variability of PM2.5/PM10 should be noticed in its applications.
Keywords: Air pollution; Particulate matter; Ratio; Spatio-temporal variability; China.

Source: nbsp; Volume 17, No. 3, March 2017, Pages 741-751 doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2016.09.0406