Elucidating the responses of highly time-resolved PM2.5 related elements to extreme emission reductions

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    China's unprecedented lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in early 2020, provided a tragic natural experiment to investigate the responses of atmospheric pollution to emission reduction at regional scale. Primarily driven by primary emissions, particulate trace elements is vitally important due to their disproportionally adverse impacts on human health and ecosystem. Here 14 trace elements in PM2.5 were selected for continuous measurement hourly in urban representative site of Shanghai, for three different phases: pre-control period (1-23 January 2020), control period (24 January-10 February 2020; overlapped with Chinese Lunar New Year holiday) and post control period (11-26 February 2020) the city's lockdown measures. The results show that all meteorological parameters (including temperature, RH, mixing layer height et al.) were generally consistent among different periods. Throughout the study period, the concentrations of most species displayed a "V-shaped" trend, suggesting significant effects by the restriction measures imposed during the lockdown period. While this is not the case for species like K, Cu and Ba, indicating their unusual origins. As a case study, the geographical origins of Cu were explored. Seven major sources, i.e., Vehicle-related emission (including road dust; indicative of Ca, Fe, Ba, Mn, Zn, Cu; accounting for 30.1%), shipping (Ni; 5.0%), coal combustion (As, Pb; 4.2%), Se and Cr industry (24.9%), nonferrous metal smelting (Au, Hg; 7.5%) and fireworks burning (K, Cu, Ba; 28.3%) were successfully pinpointed based on positive matrix factorization (PMF) analysis. Our source apportionment results also highlight fireworks burning was one of the dominant source of trace elements during the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday. It is worth noting that 56% of the total mass vehicular emissions are affiliated with non-exhaust sources (tire wear, brake wear, and road surface abrasion).