Retrospective analysis of 2015–2017 wintertime PM 2.5 in China: response to emission regulations and the role of meteorology

Chen, Dan; Liu, Zhiquan; Ban, Junmei; Zhao, Pusheng; Chen, Min

To better characterize anthropogenic emission-relevant aerosol species, the Gridpoint Statistical Interpolation (GSI) and Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry (WRF/Chem) data assimilation system was updated from the GOCART aerosol scheme to the Model for Simulating Aerosol Interactions and Chemistry (MOSAIC) 4-bin (MOSAIC-4BIN) aerosol scheme. Three years (2015–2017) of wintertime (January) surface inline-formulaPM2.5 (fine particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 inline-formulaµm) observations from more than 1600 sites were assimilated hourly using the updated three-dimensional variational (3DVAR) system. In the control experiment (without assimilation) using Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China 2010 (MEIC_2010) emissions, the modeled January averaged inline-formulaPM2.5 concentrations were severely overestimated in the Sichuan Basin, central China, the Yangtze River Delta and the Pearl River Delta by 98–134, 46–101, 32–59 and 19–60 inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3, respectively, indicating that the emissions for 2010 are not appropriate for 2015–2017, as strict emission control strategies were implemented in recent years. Meanwhile, underestimations of 11–12, 53–96 and 22–40 inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3 were observed in northeastern China, Xinjiang and the Energy Golden Triangle, respectively. The assimilation experiment significantly reduced both high and low biases to within inline-formula±5inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3.

The observations and the reanalysis data from the assimilation experiment were used to investigate the year-to-year changes and the driving factors. The role of emissions was obtained by subtracting the meteorological impacts (by control experiments) from the total combined differences (by assimilation experiments). The results show a reduction in inline-formulaPM2.5 of approximately 15 inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3 for the month of January from 2015 to 2016 in the North China Plain (NCP), but meteorology played the dominant role (contributing a reduction of approximately 12 inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3). The change (for January) from 2016 to 2017 in NCP was different; meteorology caused an increase in inline-formulaPM2.5 of approximately 23 inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3, while emission control measures caused a decrease of 8 inline-formulaµg minline-formula−3, and the combined effects still showed a inline-formulaPM2.5 increase for that region. The analysis confirmed that emission control strategies were indeed implemented and emissions were reduced in both years. Using a data assimilation approach, this study helps identify the reasons why emission control strategies may or may not have an immediately visible impact. There are still large uncertainties in this approach, especially the inaccurate emission inputs, and neglecting aerosol–meteorology feedbacks in the model can generate large uncertainties in the analysis as well.



Chen, Dan / Liu, Zhiquan / Ban, Junmei / et al: Retrospective analysis of 2015–2017 wintertime PM2.5 in China: response to emission regulations and the role of meteorology. 2019. Copernicus Publications.


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