The underappreciated role of agricultural soil nitrogen oxide emissions in ozone pollution regulation in North China

Xiao Lu, Xingpei Ye, Mi Zhou, Yuanhong Zhao, Hongjian Weng, Hao Kong, Ke Li, Meng Gao, Bo Zheng, Jintai Lin, Feng Zhou, Qiang Zhang, Dianming Wu, Lin Zhang*, Yuanhang Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intensive agricultural activities in the North China Plain (NCP) lead to substantial emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from soil, while the role of this source on local severe ozone pollution is unknown. Here we use a mechanistic parameterization of soil NOx emissions combined with two atmospheric chemistry models to investigate the issue. We find that the presence of soil NOx emissions in the NCP significantly reduces the sensitivity of ozone to anthropogenic emissions. The maximum ozone air quality improvements in July 2017, as can be achieved by controlling all domestic anthropogenic emissions of air pollutants, decrease by 30% due to the presence of soil NOx. This effect causes an emission control penalty such that large additional emission reductions are required to achieve ozone regulation targets. As NOx emissions from fuel combustion are being controlled, the soil emission penalty would become increasingly prominent and shall be considered in emission control strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5021
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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