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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-434
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-434
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 24 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Exploring the drivers of the elevated ozone production in Beijing in summertime during 2005–2016

Wenjie Wang1, David D. Parrish Parrish2, Xin Li1,3,4, Min Shao2,1, Ying Liu1, Sihua Lu1, Min Hu1, Yusheng Wu1,a, Limin Zeng1, and Yuanhang Zhang1 Wenjie Wang et al.
  • 1State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 2Institute for Environmental and Climate Research, Jinan University, Guangzhou 511443, China
  • 3International Joint Laboratory for Regional Pollution Control, Ministry of Education, Beijing, 100816, China
  • 4Collaborative Innovation Centre of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology, Nanjing, 210044, China
  • anow at: Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. In the past decade, average PM2.5 concentrations decreased rapidly under the strong pollution control measures in major cities in China; however, ozone (O3) pollution emerged as a significant problem. Here we examine a unique (for China) 12-year data set of ground-level O3 and precursor concentrations collected at an urban site in Beijing (PKUERS), where the maximum daily 8 h average (MDA8) O3 concentration and daytime Ox (O3 + NO2) concentration in August increased by 2.3 ± 1.2 ppbv (+3.3 ± 1.8 %) yr−1 and 1.4 ± 0.6 (+1.9 ± 0.8 %) yr−1 respectively from 2006 to 2016. In contrast, daytime concentrations of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and the OH reactivity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) both decreased significantly. Over this same time, the decrease of particulate matter, and thus the aerosol optical depth, led to enhanced solar radiation and photolysis frequencies, with near-surface j(NO2) increasing at a rate of 3.6 ± 0.8 % yr−1. We use an observation based box model to analyze the combined effect of solar radiation and ozone precursor changes on ozone production rate, P(O3). The results indicate that the ratio of the rates of decrease of VOCs and NOx (about 1.1) is inefficient in reducing ozone production in Beijing. P(O3) increased during the decade due to more rapid atmospheric oxidation caused to a large extent by the decrease of particulate matter. This elevated ozone production was driven primarily by increased actinic flux due to PM2.5 decrease and to a lesser extent by reduced heterogeneous uptake of HO2. Therefore, the influence of PM2.5 on actinic flux and thus on the rate of oxidation of VOCs and NOx to ozone and to secondary aerosol (i.e., the major contributor to PM2.5) is important for determining the atmospheric effects of controlling the emissions of the common precursors of PM2.5 and ozone when attempting to control these two important air pollutants.

Wenjie Wang et al.

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Short summary
During the past decade, China has devoted very substantial resources to improving the environment. These efforts have improved atmospheric particulate matter loading, but ambient ozone levels have continued to increase. In this paper we investigate the causes of the increasing ozone concentrations through analysis of a data set that is, to our knowledge, unique: a 12-year data set including ground-level O3, NOx and VOC precursors collected at an urban site in Beijing.
During the past decade, China has devoted very substantial resources to improving the...
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