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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 12 Nov 2018

Research article | 12 Nov 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

The unintended consequence of SO2 and NO2 regulations over China: increase of ammonia levels and impact on PM2.5 concentrations

Mathieu Lachatre1, Audrey Fortems-Cheiney1, Gilles Foret1, Guillaume Siour1, Gaëlle Dufour1, Lieven Clarisse3, Cathy Clerbaux2,3, Pierre-François Coheur3, Martin Van Damme3, and Matthias Beekmann1 Mathieu Lachatre et al.
  • 1Laboratoire Inter-Universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA), UMR CNRS 7583, Université Paris Est Créteil et Université Paris Diderot, Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, Créteil, France
  • 2LATMOS/IPSL, Sorbonne Université, UVSQ, CNRS, Paris, France
  • 3Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Spectroscopie Atmosphérique, Service de Chimie Quantique et Photophysique, Brussels, Belgium

Abstract. Air pollution, reaching hazardous levels in many Chinese cities has been a major concern in China over the past decades. New policies have been applied to regulate anthropogenic pollutant emissions, leading to changes in atmospheric composition and in particulate matter (PM) production. Increasing levels of atmospheric ammonia columns have been observed by satellite during the last years, in particular IASI observations reveal an increase of these columns by 15 % and 65 % from 2011 to 2013 and 2015, respectively, over Eastern China. In this paper we have performed model simulations for 2011, 2013 and 2015 in order to understand the origin of this increase, and in particular to quantify the link between ammonia and the inorganic components of particles: NH4(p)+ / SO4(p)2− / NO3(p). Interannual change of meteorology can be excluded as a reason: year 2015 meteorology leads to enhanced sulphate production over Eastern China which increases the ammonium and decreases the ammonia content which is contrary to satellite observations. Reductions in SO2 and NOX emission between 2011 and 2015 of respectively −37.5 and −21 %, as constrained from satellite data, lead to decreased inorganic matter (by 14 % for NH4(p)+ + SO4(p)2− + NO3(p)). This in turn leads to increased gaseous NH3(g) tropospheric columns, by as much as 24 % and 49 % (sampled corresponding to IASI data availability) from 2011 to 2013 and 2015 respectively, and thus can explain most of the observed increase.

Mathieu Lachatre et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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Mathieu Lachatre et al.
Mathieu Lachatre et al.
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Short summary
It has been observed from satellite based instrument that ammonia levels have strongly increase between 2011 and 2015. We have used the CHIMERE CTM to understand what could explain such an increase. We first focused on meterological condition variations, and it has been concluded that meteorology was not explaining ammonia evolution. Then, we have focused on SO2 and NOX emission evolutions, to evaluate their influences on ammonia. It appears that theses decreases were the main explaination.
It has been observed from satellite based instrument that ammonia levels have strongly increase...