Chlorine oxidation of VOCs at a semi-rural site in Beijing: significant chlorine liberation from ClNO2 and subsequent gas- and particle-phase Cl–VOC production, Atmos.
Nitryl chloride (ClNO2) accumulation at night acts as a significant reservoir for active chlorine and impacts the following day's photochemistry when the chlorine atom is liberated at sunrise. Here, we report simultaneous measurements of N2O5 and a suite of inorganic halogens including ClNO2 and reactions of chloride with volatile organic compounds (Cl–VOCs) in the gas and particle phases utilising the Filter Inlet for Gas and AEROsols time-of-flight chemical ionisation mass spectrometer (FIGAERO-ToF-CIMS) during an intensive measurement campaign 40km northwest of Beijing in May and June 2016. A maximum mixing ratio of 2900ppt of ClNO2 was observed with a mean campaign nighttime mixing ratio of 487ppt, appearing to have an anthropogenic source supported by correlation with SO2, CO and benzene, which often persisted at high levels after sunrise until midday. This was attributed to such high mixing ratios persisting after numerous e-folding times of the photolytic lifetime enabling the chlorine atom production to reach 2.3 × 105moleculescm−3 from ClNO2 alone, peaking at 09:30LT and up to 8.4 × 105moleculescm−3 when including the supporting inorganic halogen measurements.