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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 30 Sep 2019

Submitted as: research article | 30 Sep 2019

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

Street-scale air quality modelling for Beijing during a winter 2016 measurement campaign

Michael Biggart1, Jenny Stocker2, Ruth M. Doherty1, Oliver Wild3, Michael Hollaway3,a, David Carruthers2, Jie Li4, Qiang Zhang5, Ruili Wu5, Simone Kotthaus6,7, Sue Grimmond6, Freya A. Squires8, James Lee8,9, and Zongbo Shi10,11 Michael Biggart et al.
  • 1School of Geosciences, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK
  • 2Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants, Cambridge, UK
  • 3Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK
  • 4State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 5Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modelling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
  • 6Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
  • 7Institut Pierre Simon Laplace, École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France
  • 8Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, UK
  • 9National Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of York, York, UK
  • 10School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK
  • 11Institute of Surface-Earth System Science, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China
  • anow at: Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster Environment Centre, Bailrigg, Lancaster, UK

Abstract. We examine the street-scale variation of NOx, NO2, O3 and PM2.5 concentrations in Beijing during the Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in a Chinese Megacity (APHH-China) winter measurement campaign in November–December 2016. Simulations are performed using the urban air pollution dispersion and chemistry model ADMS-Urban, and an explicit network of road source emissions. Two versions of the gridded Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China (MEIC v1.3) are used: the standard MEIC v1.3 emissions and an optimised version, both at 3 km resolution. We construct a new traffic emissions inventory by apportioning the transport sector onto a detailed spatial road map. Agreement between mean simulated and measured pollutant concentrations from Beijing's air quality monitoring network and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) field site is improved when using the optimised emissions inventory. The inclusion of fast NOx-O3 chemistry and explicit traffic emissions enables the sharp concentration gradients adjacent to major roads to be resolved with the model. However, NO2 concentrations are overestimated close to roads, likely due to the assumption of uniform traffic activity across the study domain. Differences between measured and simulated diurnal NO2 cycles suggest that an additional evening NOx emission source, likely related to heavy duty diesel trucks, is not fully accounted for in the emissions inventory. Overestimates in simulated early evening NO2 are reduced by delaying the formation of stable boundary layer conditions in the model to replicate Beijing's urban heat island. The simulated campaign period mean PM2.5 concentration range across the monitoring network (~ 15 μgm−3) is much lower than the measured range (~ 40 μgm−3). This is likely a consequence of insufficient PM2.5 emissions and spatial variability, neglect of explicit point sources, and assumption of a homogeneous background PM2.5 level. Sensitivity studies highlight that the use of explicit road source emissions, modified diurnal emission profiles, and inclusion of urban heat island effects permit closer agreement between simulated and measured NO2 concentrations. This work lays the foundations for future studies of human exposure to ambient air pollution across complex urban areas, with the APHH-China campaign measurements providing a valuable means of evaluating the impact of key processes on street-scale air quality.

Michael Biggart et al.
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Michael Biggart et al.
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Short summary
Ambient air pollution is a major cause of premature death in China. We examine the street-scale variation of pollutant levels in Beijing using the air pollution dispersion and chemistry model ADMS-urban. Campaign measurements are compared with simulated pollutant levels providing a valuable means of evaluating the impact of key processes on urban air quality. Air quality modelling at such fine scales is essential for human exposure studies, and for informing choices on future emission controls.
Ambient air pollution is a major cause of premature death in China. We examine the street-scale...