Photochemical ozone pollution in five Chinese megacities in summer 2018

Xufei Liu, Hai Guo*, Lewei Zeng, Xiaopu Lyu, Yu Wang, Yangzong Zeren, Jin Yang, Luyao Zhang, Shizhen Zhao, Jun Li, Gan Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate photochemical ozone (O3) pollution in urban areas in China, O3 and its precursors and meteorological parameters were simultaneously measured in five megacities in China in summer 2018. Moderate wind speeds, strong solar radiation and high temperature were observed in all cities, indicating favorable meteorological conditions for local O3 formation. However, the unusually frequent precipitation caused by typhoons reaching the eastern coastline resulted in the least severe air pollution in Shanghai. The highest O3 level was found in Beijing, followed by Lanzhou and Wuhan, while relatively lower O3 value was recorded in Chengdu and Shanghai. Photochemical box model simulations revealed that net O3 production rate in Lanzhou was the largest, followed by Beijing, Wuhan and Chengdu, while it was the lowest in Shanghai. Besides, the O3 formation was mainly controlled by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in most cities, but co-limited by VOCs and nitrogen oxides in Lanzhou. Moreover, the dominant VOC groups contributing to O3 formation were oxygenated VOCs (OVOCs) in Beijing and Wuhan, alkenes in Lanzhou, and aromatics and OVOCs in Shanghai and Chengdu. Source apportionment analysis identified six sources of O3 precursors in these cities, including liquefied petroleum gas usage, diesel exhaust, gasoline exhaust, industrial emissions, solvent usage, and biogenic emissions. Gasoline exhaust dominated the O3 formation in Beijing, and LPG usage and industrial emissions made comparable contributions in Lanzhou, while LPG usage and solvent usage played a leading role in Wuhan and Chengdu, respectively. The findings are helpful to mitigate O3 pollution in China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149603
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date12 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ozone formation
  • VOCs
  • Radical chemistry
  • Megacity clusters


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