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Measurements of traffic-dominated pollutant emissions in a Chinese megacity

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  • F.A. Squires
  • Eiko Nemitz
  • Ben Langford
  • Will S. Drysdale
  • Pingqing Fu
  • Sue Grimmond
  • Jacqueline F. Hamilton
  • Simone Kotthaus
  • James Lee
  • Stefan Metzger
  • Natchaya Pingintha-Durden
  • Adam Robert Vaughan
  • Xinming Wang
  • Ruili Wu
  • Qiang Zhang
  • Yanli Zhang
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>23/07/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)8737–8761
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Direct measurements of NOx, CO and aromatic volatile organic compound (VOC) (benzene, toluene, C2-benzenes and C3-benzenes) flux were made for a central area of Beijing using the eddy-covariance technique. Measurements were made during two intensive field campaigns in central Beijing as part of the Air Pollution and Human Health (APHH) project, the first in November–December 2016 and the second during May–June 2017, to contrast wintertime and summertime emission rates. There was little difference in the magnitude of NOx flux between the two seasons (mean NOx flux was 4.41 mg m−2 h−1 in the winter compared to 3.55 mg m−2 h−1 in the summer). CO showed greater seasonal variation, with mean CO flux in the winter campaign (34.7 mg m−2 h−1) being over twice that of the summer campaign (15.2 mg m−2 h−1). Larger emissions of aromatic VOCs in summer were attributed to increased evaporation due to higher temperatures. The largest fluxes in NOx and CO generally occurred during the morning and evening rush hour periods, indicating a major traffic source with high midday emissions of CO, indicating an additional influence from cooking fuel. Measured NOx and CO fluxes were then compared to the MEIC 2013 emissions inventory, which was found to significantly overestimate emissions for this region, providing evidence that proxy-based emissions inventories have positive biases in urban centres. This first set of pollutant fluxes measured in Beijing provides an important benchmark of emissions from the city which can help to inform and evaluate current emissions inventories.