Formation of aqueous-phase sulfate during the haze period in China: Kinetics and atmospheric implications

Haijie Zhang, Shilu Chen, Jie Zhong, Shaowen Zhang, Yunhong Zhang, Xiuhui Zhang, Zesheng Li, Xiao Cheng Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Sulfate is one of the most important components in the aerosol due to its key role in air pollution and global climate change. Recent work has suggested that reactive nitrogen chemistry in aqueous water can explain the missing source of sulfate in the aqueous water. Herein, we have mapped out the energy profile of the oxidization process of SO2 leading from NO2 and two feasible three-step mechanisms have been proposed. For the oxidation of HOSO2 and HSO3 by the dissolved NO2 in weakly acidic and neutral aerosol (pH ≤ 7), the main contribution to the missing sulfate production comes from the oxidation of HOSO2. The whole process is a self-sustaining process. For the oxidation of SO32− in alkaline aerosol (pH > 7), the third step - decomposition step of H2O or hydrolysis of SO3 step which are two parallel processes are the rate-limiting steps. The present results are of avail to better understand the missing source of sulfate in the aerosol and hence may lead to better science-based solutions for resolving the severe haze problems in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalAtmospheric Environment
StatePublished - Mar 2018



  • Haze problems
  • Mechanism
  • Nitrogen chemistry
  • Sulfate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this