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Contrasting chemical environments in summertime for atmospheric ozone across major Chinese industrial regions: the effectiveness of emission control strategies

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>14/07/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number13
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)10689-10706
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The UKCA chemistry-climate model is used to quantify the differences in chemical environment for surface O3 for six major industrial regions across China in summer 2016. We first enhance the UKCA gas-phase chemistry scheme by incorporating reactive VOC tracers that are necessary to represent urban and regional-scale O3 photochemistry. We demonstrate that the model with the improved chemistry scheme captures the observed magnitudes and diurnal patterns of surface O3 concentrations across these regions well. Simulated O3 concentrations are highest in Beijing and Shijiazhuang on the North China Plain and in Chongqing, lower in Shanghai and Nanjing in the Yangtze River Delta, and lowest in Guangzhou in the Pearl River Delta despite the highest daytime O3 production rates in Guangzhou. NOx/VOC and H2O2/HNO3 ratios indicate that O3 production across all regions except Chongqing is VOC limited. We confirm this by constructing O3 response surfaces for each region changing NOx and VOC emissions and further contrast the effectiveness of measures to reduce surface O3 concentrations. In VOC limited regions, reducing NOx emissions by 20 % leads to a substantial O3 increase (11 %) in Shanghai. We find that reductions in NOx emissions alone of more than 70 % are required to decrease O3 concentrations across all regions. Reductions in VOC emissions alone of 20 % produce the largest decrease (- 11 %) in O3 levels in Shanghai and Guangzhou and the smallest decrease (- 1 %) in Chongqing. These responses are substantially different from those currently found in highly populated regions in other parts of the world, likely due to higher NOx emission levels in these Chinese regions. Our work provides an assessment of the effectiveness of emission control strategies to mitigate surface O3 pollution in these major industrial regions, and emphasizes that combined NOx and VOC emission controls play a pivotal role in effectively offsetting high O3 levels. It also demonstrates new capabilities in capturing regional air pollution that will permit this model to be used for future studies of regional air quality-climate interactions.