Distinguishing the roles of meteorology, emission control measures, regional transport, and co-benefits of reduced aerosol feedbacks in “APEC Blue”

Meng Gao, Zirui Liu, Yuesi Wang, Xiao Lu, Dongsheng Ji, Lili Wang, Meng Li, Zifa Wang, Qiang Zhang, Gregory R. Carmichael

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Air quality are strongly influenced by both emissions and meteorological conditions. During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) week (November 5–11, 2014), the Chinese government implemented unprecedented strict emission control measures in Beijing and surrounding provinces, and then a phenomenon referred to as “APEC Blue” (rare blue sky) occurred. It is challenging to quantify the effectiveness of the implemented strict control measures solely based on observations. In this study, we use the WRF-Chem model to distinguish the roles of meteorology, emission control measures, regional transport, and co-benefits of reduced aerosol feedbacks during APEC week. In general, meteorological variables, PM2.5 concentrations and PM2.5 chemical compositions are well reproduced in Beijing. Positive weather conditions (lower temperature, lower relative humidity, higher wind speeds and enhanced boundary layer heights) play important roles in “APEC Blue”. Applying strict emission control measures in Beijing and five surrounding provinces can only explain an average decrease of 17.7 μg/m3 (−21.8%) decreases in PM2.5 concentrations, roughly more than half of which is caused by emission controls that implemented in the five surrounding provinces (12.5 μg/m3). During the APEC week, non-local emissions contributed to 41.3% to PM2.5 concentrations in Beijing, and the effectiveness of implementing emission control measures hinges on dominant pathways and transport speeds. Besides, we also quantified the contribution of reduced aerosol feedbacks due to strict emission control measures in this study. During daytime, co-benefits of reduced aerosol feedbacks account for about 10.9% of the total decreases in PM2.5 concentrations in urban Beijing. The separation of contributions from aerosol absorption and scattering restates the importance of controlling BC to accelerate the effectiveness of aerosol pollution control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-486
Number of pages21
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume167
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017

User-Defined Keywords

  • APEC Blue
  • Emission controls
  • Meteorology conditions
  • Aerosol feedbacks
  • BC absorption

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