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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-248
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-248
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 29 Mar 2019

Research article | 29 Mar 2019

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

Evaluation of Anthropogenic Emissions and Ozone Pollution in the North China Plain: Insights from the Air Chemistry Research in Asia (ARIAs) Campaign

Hao He1, Xinrong Ren1,2,3, Sarah E. Benish1, Zhanqing Li1,4,5, Fei Wang5,6, Yuying Wang5, Timothy P. Canty1, Xiaobo Dong7, Feng Lv7, Yongtao Hu8, Tong Zhu9, and Russell R. Dickerson1,4 Hao He et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
  • 2Air Resources Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, College Park, MD 20742, USA
  • 3Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
  • 4Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20740, USA
  • 5College of Global Change and Earth System Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China
  • 6Key Laboratory for Cloud Physics, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, 100081, China
  • 7Weather Modification Office of Hebei Province, Shijiazhuang, 050021, China
  • 8School of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
  • 9College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Abstract. To study the air pollution in the North China Plain (NCP), the Air Chemistry Research in Asia (ARIAs) campaign conducted airborne measurements of air pollutants including O3, CO, NO and NO2 in spring 2016. High concentrations of pollutants, > 100 ppbv of O3, > 500 ppbv of CO, and > 10 ppbv of NO2, were observed throughout the boundary layer during the campaign. CMAQ simulations with the 2010 EDGAR emissions can capture the basic spatial and temporal variations of ozone and its major precursors such as CO, NOx and VOCs, but significantly underestimate their concentrations. Observed emission enhancements of CO and NOx with respect to CO2 suggest the existence of combustion with high emissions such as biomass burning in the NCP. The comparison with emission factors from the 2010 EDGAR emission inventory indicates that the contribution of combustion with high emissions has been overestimated. Differences between CMAQ simulations with 2010 emissions and satellite observations in 2016 can reflect the change in anthropogenic emissions. NOx emissions decreased in megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai confirming the effectiveness of recent control measures in China, while in other cities and rural areas NOx emissions slightly increased, e.g., CMAQ predicts only ~ 80 % of NOx observed in the aircraft campaign area. CMAQ also underestimates HCHO (a proxy of VOCs, by ~ 20 %) and CO (by ~ 60 %) over the NCP, suggesting adjustments of the 2010 EDGAR emissions are needed to improve the model performance. HCHO/NO2 column ratios derived from OMI measurements and CMAQ simulations show that VOC-sensitive chemistry dominates the ozone photochemical production in eastern China, suggesting the importance of tightening regulations on VOCs emissions. We adjusted EDGAR emissions based on satellite observations, conducted sensitivity experiments of CMAQ, and achieved better model performance in simulating ozone, but underestimation still exists. Because of the VOC-sensitive environment in ozone chemistry over the NCP, future study and regulations should focus on VOCs emissions with the continuous controls on NOx emissions in China.

Hao He et al.
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Short summary
We conducted aircraft measurements of air pollution in the North China Plain. Concentrations of air pollutants higher than the air quality standards were observed. Our modeling study indicates that the rate of ozone (one major air pollutant) production is determined by volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is confirmed by satellite observations. Currently, VOCs are not well regulated in China, so this study suggests the future direction of control measures to improve air quality in China.
We conducted aircraft measurements of air pollution in the North China Plain. Concentrations of...
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