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Environ Sci Technol. 2008 Jul 15;42(14):5196-201.

Atmospheric transport and outflow of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from China.

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  • 1Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871.


A potential receptor influence function (PRIF) model, based on air mass forward trajectory calculations, was applied to simulate the atmospheric transport and outflow of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) emitted from China. With a 10 day atmospheric transport time, most neighboring countries and regions, as well as remote regions, were influenced by PAH emissions from China. Of the total annual PAH emission of 114 Gg, 92.7% remained within the boundary of mainland China. The geographic distribution of PRIFs within China was similar to the geographic distribution of the source regions, with high values in the North China Plain, Sichuan Basin, Shanxi, and Guizhou province. The Tarim basin and Sichuan basin had unfavorable meteorological conditions for PAH outflow. Of the PAH outflow from China (8092 tons or 7.1% of the total annual PAH emission), approximately 69.9% (5655 tons) reached no further than the offshore environment of mainland China and the South China Sea. Approximate 227, 71, 746, and 131 tons PAHs reached North Korea, South Korea, Russia-Mongolia region, and Japan, respectively, 2-4 days after the emission. Only 1.4 tons PAHs reached North America after more than 9 days. Interannual variation in the eastward PAH outflow was positively correlated to cold episodes of El NiƱo/Southern Oscillation. However, trans-Pacific atmospheric transport of PAHs from China was correlated to Pacific North America index (PNA) which is associated with the strength and position of westerly winds.

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