Liu, Yiming; Wang, Tao

The Chinese government launched the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Action Plan in 2013, and various stringent measures have since been implemented, which have resulted in significant decreases in emissions and ambient concentrations of primary pollutants such as inline-formulaSO2, inline-formulaNOx, and particulate matter (PM). However, surface ozone (inline-formulaO3) concentrations have still been increasing in urban areas across the country. In a previous analysis, we examined in detail the roles of meteorological variation during 2013–2017 in the summertime surface inline-formulaO3 trend in various regions of China. In this study, we evaluated the effect of changes in multi-pollutant emissions from anthropogenic activities on inline-formulaO3 levels during the same period by using an up-to-date regional chemical transport model (WRF-CMAQ) driven by an interannual anthropogenic emission inventory. The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model was improved with regard to heterogeneous reactions of reactive gases on aerosol surfaces, which led to better model performance in reproducing the ambient concentrations of those gases. The model simulations showed that the maximum daily 8 inline-formulah average (MDA8) inline-formulaO3 mixing ratio in urban areas increased by 0.46 ppbv per year (inline-formulappbv a−1) (inline-formulap=0.001) from 2013 to 2017. In contrast, a slight decrease in MDA8 inline-formulaO3 by 0.17 inline-formulappbv a−1 (inline-formulap=0.005) in rural areas was predicted, mainly attributable to the inline-formulaNOx emission reduction. The effects of changes in individual pollutant emissions on inline-formulaO3 were also simulated. The reduction of inline-formulaNOx emission increased the inline-formulaO3 levels in urban areas due to the nonlinear inline-formulaNOx and volatile organic compound (VOC) chemistry and decreasing aerosol effects; the slight increase in VOC emissions enhanced the inline-formulaO3 levels; the reduction of PM emissions increased the inline-formulaO3 levels by enhancing the photolysis rates and reducing the loss of reactive gases on aerosol surfaces; and the reduction of inline-formulaSO2 emissions resulted in a drastic decrease in sulfate concentrations, which increased inline-formulaO3 through aerosol effects. In contrast to the unfavorable effect of the above changes in pollutant emissions on efforts to reduce surface inline-formulaO3, the reduction of CO emissions did help to decrease the inline-formulaO3 level in recent years. The dominant cause of increasing inline-formulaO3 due to changes in anthropogenic emissions varied geographically. In Beijing, inline-formulaNOx and PM emission reductions were the two largest causes of the inline-formulaO3 increase; in Shanghai, the reduction of inline-formulaNOx and increase in VOC emissions were the two major causes; in Guangzhou, inline-formulaNOx reduction was the primary cause; in Chengdu, the PM and inline-formulaSO2 emission decreases contributed most to the inline-formulaO3 increase. Regarding the effects of decreasing concentrations of aerosols, the drop in heterogeneous uptake of reactive gases – mainly inline-formulaHO2 and inline-formulaO3 – was found to be more important than the increase in photolysis rates. The adverse effect of the reductions of inline-formulaNOx, inline-formulaSO2, and PM emissions on inline-formulaO3 abatement in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu would have been avoided if the anthropogenic VOCs emission had been reduced by 24 %, 23 %, 20 %, and 16 %, respectively, from 2013 to 2017. Our analysis revealed that the inline-formulaNOx reduction in recent years has helped to contain the total inline-formulaO3 production in China. However, to reduce inline-formulaO3 levels in major urban and industrial areas, VOC emission controls should be added to the current inline-formulaNOx-inline-formulaSO2-PM policy.

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Liu, Yiming / Wang, Tao: Worsening urban ozone pollution in China from 2013 to 2017 – Part 2: The effects of emission changes and implications for multi-pollutant control. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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