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An unexpected large continental source of reactive bromine and chlorine with significant impact on wintertime air quality
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  • Xiang Peng,
  • Weihao Wang,
  • Men Xia,
  • Hui Chen,
  • Akkihebbal Ramaiah Ravishankara,
  • Qinyi Li,
  • Alfonso Saiz-Lopez,
  • Pengfei Liu,
  • Fei Zhang,
  • Chenglong Zhang,
  • Likun Xue,
  • Xinfeng Wang,
  • Christian George,
  • Jinhe Wang,
  • Yujing Mu,
  • Jianmin Chen,
  • Tao WANG
Xiang Peng
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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Weihao Wang
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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Men Xia
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University
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Hui Chen
Fudan University, Fudan University
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Akkihebbal Ramaiah Ravishankara
Colorado State University, Colorado State University
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Qinyi Li
Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano, Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano
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Alfonso Saiz-Lopez
Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano, Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano
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Pengfei Liu
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Fei Zhang
Fudan University, Fudan University
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Chenglong Zhang
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Likun Xue
Shandong University, Shandong University
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Xinfeng Wang
Shandong University, Shandong University
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Christian George
Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1
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Jinhe Wang
Shandong Jianzhu University, Shandong Jianzhu University
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Yujing Mu
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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Jianmin Chen
Fudan University, Fudan University
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Tao WANG
the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Corresponding Author:cetwang@polyu.edu.hk

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Abstract

Halogen atoms affect the budget of ozone and the fate of pollutants such as hydrocarbons and mercury. Yet their sources and significances in polluted continental regions are poorly understood. Here we report the observation of unprecedented levels (averaging to hundreds of parts per trillion) of bromine chloride (BrCl) at a mid-latitude site in North China during winter. Widespread coal burning in rural households and a photo-assisted process were the main source of BrCl and other bromine gases. BrCl contributed about 55% of both bromine (Br) and chlorine (Cl) atoms. The halogen atoms increased the abundance of ‘conventional’ tropospheric oxidants (OH, HO2, and RO2) by 26-73%, and enhanced oxidation of hydrocarbon by nearly a factor of two and the net ozone production by 55%. Our study reveals the significant role of reactive halogen in winter atmospheric chemistry and in the deterioration of air quality in continental regions where uncontrolled coal combustion is prevalent.
24 Jul 2021Published in National Science Review volume 8 issue 7. 10.1093/nsr/nwaa304