Severe Surface Ozone Pollution in China: A Global Perspective

Xiao Lu, Jiayun Hong, Lin Zhang*, Owen R. Cooper, Martin G. Schultz, Xiaobin Xu, Tao Wang, Meng Gao, Yuanhong Zhao, Yuanhang Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

629 Citations (Scopus)


The nationwide extent of surface ozone pollution in China and its comparison to the global ozone distribution have not been recognized because of the scarcity of Chinese monitoring sites before 2012. Here we address this issue by using the latest 5 year (2013–2017) surface ozone measurements from the Chinese monitoring network, combined with the recent Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report (TOAR) database for other industrialized regions such as Japan, South Korea, Europe, and the United States (JKEU). We use various human health and vegetation exposure metrics. We find that although the median ozone values are comparable between Chinese and JKEU cities, the magnitude and frequency of high-ozone events are much larger in China. The national warm-season (April–September) fourth highest daily maximum 8 h average (4MDA8) ozone level (86.0 ppb) and the number of days with MDA8 values of >70 ppb (NDGT70, 29.7 days) in China are 6.3–30% (range of regional mean differences) and 93–575% higher, respectively, than the JKEU regional averages. Health exposure metrics such as warm-season mean MDA8 and annual SOMO35 (sum of ozone means over 35 ppb) are 6.3–16 and 25–95% higher in China, respectively. We also find an increase in the surface ozone level over China in 2016 and 2017 relative to 2013 and 2014. Our results show that on the regional scale the exposure of humans and vegetation to ozone is greater in China than in other developed regions of the world with comprehensive ozone monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-494
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018


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