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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1141
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-1141
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 17 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 17 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Pollutant emission reductions deliver decreased PM2.5-caused mortality across China during 2015–2017

Ben Silver1, Luke Conibear1, Carly L. Reddington1, Christoph Knote2, Steve R. Arnold1, and Dominick V. Spracklen1 Ben Silver et al.
  • 1School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
  • 2Meteorological Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Theresienstr. 37, Munich, 80333, Germany

Abstract. Air pollution is a serious environmental issue and leading contributor to the disease burden in China. Rapid reductions in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations and increased ozone concentrations have occurred across China, during 2015 to 2017. We used measurements of particulate matter with a diameter < 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and Ozone (O3) from > 1000 stations across China along with Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) regional air quality simulations, to explore the drivers and impacts of observed trends. The measured nationwide median PM2.5 trend of −3.4 µg m−3 year−1, was well simulated by the model (−3.5 µg m−3 year−1). With anthropogenic emissions fixed at 2015-levels, the simulated trend was much weaker (−0.6 µg m−3 year−1), demonstrating interannual variability in meteorology played a minor role in the observed PM2.5 trend. The model simulated increased ozone concentrations in line with the measurements, but underestimated the magnitude of the observed absolute trend by a factor of 2. We combined simulated trends in PM2.5 concentrations with an exposure-response function to estimate that reductions in PM2.5 concentrations over this period have reduced PM2.5-attribrutable premature morality across China by 150 000  deaths year−1.

Ben Silver et al.

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Latest update: 28 Mar 2020
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Short summary
China suffers from serious air pollution, which is thought to cause millions of early deaths each year. Measurements on the ground show that overall air quality is improving. Air quality is also affected by weather conditions, which can vary year to year. We conduct computer simulations to show that it is the reduction of the amount of pollution emitted, rather than weather conditions, which has caused air quality to improve during 2015–2017. We then estimate that 150 000 fewer people die early.
China suffers from serious air pollution, which is thought to cause millions of early deaths...
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