The nonlinear response of fine particulate matter pollution to ammonia emission reductions in North China

Citation:

Liu Z, Zhou M, Chen Y, Chen D, Pan Y, Song T, Ji D, Chen Q, Zhang L. The nonlinear response of fine particulate matter pollution to ammonia emission reductions in North China. Environmental Research Letters. 2021.

摘要:

Recent Chinese air pollution actions have significantly lowered the levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in North China via controlling emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NO x ) together with primary aerosols, while the emissions of another precursor, ammonia (NH3), have not yet been regulated. This raises a question that how effective the NH3 emission controls can be on the mitigation of PM2.5 pollution along with the reduction of SO2 and NO x emissions. Here we use a regional air quality model to investigate this issue focusing on the PM2.5 pollution in North China for January and July 2015. We find that the efficiency of the PM2.5 reduction is highly sensitive to the NH3 emission and its reduction intensity. Reductions in the population-weighted PM2.5 concentration (PWC) in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region are only 1.4–3.8 μg m−3 (1.1%–2.9% of PM2.5) with 20%–40% NH3 emission reductions, but could reach 8.1–26.7 μg m−3 (6.2%–21%) with 60%–100% NH3 emission reductions in January 2015. Besides, the 2015–2017 emission changes (mainly reduction in SO2 emissions) could lower the PM2.5 control efficiency driven by the NH3 reduction by up to 30% for high NH3 emission conditions, while lead to no change or increase in the efficiency when NH3 emissions become low. NO x emission reductions may enhance the wintertime PM2.5 pollution due to the weakened titration effect and can be offset by simultaneously controlling NH3 emissions. Our results emphasize the need to jointly consider NH3 with SO2 and NO x emission controls when designing PM2.5 pollution mitigation strategies.