Quantifying Contributions of Local Emissions and Regional Transport to NOX in Beijing Using TROPOMI Constrained WRF-Chem Simulation

Yizhi Zhu, Qihou Hu*, Meng Gao, Chun Zhao, Chengxin Zhang, Ting Liu, Yuan Tian, Liu Yan, Wenjing Su, Xinhua Hong, Cheng Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Air quality is strongly influenced by both local emissions and regional transport. Atmospheric chemical transport models can distinguish between emissions and regional transport sources in air pollutant concentrations. However, quantifying model inventories is challenging due to emission changes caused by the recent strict control measures taken by the Chinese government. In this study, we use NO2 column observations from the Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument to retrieve top-down nitrogen oxide (NOX) emissions and quantify the contributions of local emissions and regional transport to NOx in Beijing (BJ), from 1 November 2018 to 28 February 2019 (W_2018) and 1 November 2019 to 29 February 2020 (W_2019). In W_2018 and W_2019, the BJ bottom-up NOX emissions from the multi-resolution emission inventory for China in 2017 were overestimated by 11.8% and 40.5%, respectively, and the input of NOX from other cities to BJ was overestimated by 10.9% and 51.6%, respectively. The simulation using our adjusted inventory exhibited a much higher spatial agreement (slope = 1.0, R2 = 0.79) and reduced a mean relative error by 45% compared to those of bottom-up NOX emissions. The top-down inventory indicated that (1) city boundary transport contributes approximately 40% of the NOX concentration in BJ; (2) in W_2019, NOX emissions and transport in BJ decreased by 20.4% and 17.2%, respectively, compared to those of W_2018; (3) in W_2019, NOX influx substantially decreased (−699 g/s) in BJ compared to that of W_2018 despite negative meteorological conditions that should have increased NOx influx by +503 g/s. Overall, the contribution of intercity input to NOx in BJ has declined with decreasing emissions in the surrounding cities due to regional cooperative control measures, and the role of local emissions in BJ NOx levels was more prominent. Our findings indicate that local emissions may play vital roles in regional center city air quality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1798
Number of pages18
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Meteorology
  • Top-down nitrogen oxide emissions
  • Transport
  • Tropospheric monitoring instrument
  • Weather research and forecasting with coupled chemistry


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