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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-98
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-98
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Mar 2019

Research article | 11 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).

Exploring 2016–2017 surface ozone pollution over China: source contributions and meteorological influences

Xiao Lu1, Lin Zhang1, Youfan Chen1, Mi Zhou1, Bo Zheng2, Ke Li3, Yiming Liu4, Jintai Lin1, Tzung-May Fu1, and Qiang Zhang5 Xiao Lu et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Climate and Ocean-Atmosphere Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 2Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement, CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, UMR8212, Gif-sur-Yvette, France
  • 3John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  • 4Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong 99907, China
  • 5Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

Abstract. Severe surface ozone pollution over major Chinese cities has become an emerging air quality concern, raising a new challenge for emission control measures in China. In this study, we explore the source contributions to surface daily maximum 8-h average (MDA8) ozone over China in 2016 and 2017, the two years with the highest surface ozone averaged over Chinese cities in record. We estimate the contributions of anthropogenic, background, and individual natural sources to surface ozone over China, using the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model at 0.25° × 0.3125° horizontal resolution with the most up-to-date Chinese anthropogenic emission inventory. Model results are evaluated with concurrent surface ozone measurements at 169 cities over China and show general good agreement. We find that background ozone (defined as ozone that would be presented in the absence of all Chinese anthropogenic emissions) accounts for 90 % (49.4 ppbv) of the national March–April mean surface MDA8 ozone over China and 80 % (44.5 ppbv) for May–August. It includes large contributions from natural sources (80 % in March–April and 72 % in May–August). Among them, biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) emissions enhance MDA8 ozone by more than 15 ppbv in eastern China during July–August, while lightning NOx emissions and ozone transport from the stratosphere both lead to ozone enhancements of over 20 ppbv in western China during March–April. Over major Chinese city clusters, domestic anthropogenic sources account for about 30 % of the May–August mean surface MDA8 ozone, and reach 39–73 ppbv (38 %–69 %) for days with simulated MDA8 ozone > 100 ppbv in the Northern China Plain, Fenwei Plain, Yangtze River Delta, and Pearl River Delta city clusters. These high ozone episodes are usually associated with high temperatures, which induce large BVOCs emissions and enhance ozone chemical production. Our results indicate that there would be no days with MDA8 ozone > 80 ppbv in these major Chinese cities in the absence of domestic anthropogenic emissions. We find that the 2017 ozone increases relative to 2016 are largely due to higher background ozone driven by hotter and dryer weather conditions, while changes in domestic anthropogenic emissions alone would have led to ozone decreases in 2017. Meteorological conditions in 2017 favor natural source contributions (particularly soil NOx and BVOCs ozone enhancements) and ozone chemical production, increase thermal decomposition of peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), and further decrease ozone dry deposition velocity. More stringent emission control measures are thus required to offset the adverse effects of unfavorable meteorology such as high temperature on surface ozone air quality.

Xiao Lu et al.
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Status: open (until 06 May 2019)
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Short summary
Severe and deteriorating surface ozone pollution over major Chinese cities has become an emerging environmental concern in China. This study assesses the source contributions (including anthropogenic, background, and individual natural sources) and meteorological influences on surface ozone over China in 2016–2017, using the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model at high horizontal resolution with the most up-to-date Chinese anthropogenic emission inventory.
Severe and deteriorating surface ozone pollution over major Chinese cities has become an...
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