Atmospheric deposition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Shanghai: the spatio-temporal variation and source identification

Chen Cheng, Chunjuan Bi, Dongqi Wang, Zhongjie Yu, Zhenlou Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the dry and wet deposition fluxes of atmospheric polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Shanghai, China. The flux sources were traced based on composition and spatio-temporal variation. The results show that wet deposition concentrations of PAHs ranged from 0.07 to 0.67 mg·L–1 and were correlated with temperature (P<0.05). Dry deposition of PAHs concentrations ranged from 3.60–92.15 mg·L–1 and were higher in winter and spring than in summer and autumn. The annual PAH average fluxes were 0.631 mg·m–2·d–1 and 4.06 mg·m–2·d–1 for wet and dry deposition, respectively. The highest wet deposition of PAH fluxes was observed in summer, while dry deposition fluxes were higher in winter and spring. Atmospheric PAHs were deposited as dry deposition in spring and winter, yet wet deposition was the dominant pathway during summer. Total atmospheric PAH fluxes were higher in the northern areas than in the southern areas of Shanghai, and were also observed to be higher in winter and spring. Annual deposition of atmospheric PAHs was about 10.8 t in across all of Shanghai. Wet deposition of PAHs was primarily composed of two, three, or four rings, while dry deposition of PAHs was composed of four, five, or six rings. The atmospheric PAHs, composed of four, five, or six rings, primarily existed in the form of particulates. Coal combustion and vehicle emissions were the dominant sources of PAH in the observed area of downtown Shanghai. In suburban areas, industrial pollution, from sources such as coke oven, incinerator, and oil fired power plant, was as significant as vehicle emissions in contributing to the deposition of PAHs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers of Earth Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • PAHs
  • Shanghai
  • dry and wet deposition
  • temporal and spatial variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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