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Volume 18, issue 14 | Copyright

Special issue: Regional transport and transformation of air pollution in...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10675-10691, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 26 Jul 2018

Research article | 26 Jul 2018

Contributions of residential coal combustion to the air quality in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH), China: a case study

Xia Li1,2, Jiarui Wu1, Miriam Elser3, Tian Feng1, Junji Cao1, Imad El-Haddad3, Rujin Huang1, Xuexi Tie1, André S. H. Prévôt3, and Guohui Li1 Xia Li et al.
  • 1Key Lab of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China
  • 2University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 3Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Paul Scherrer Institute, 5232 Villigen, Switzerland

Abstract. In the present study, the WRF-Chem model is used to assess contributions of residential coal combustion (RCC) emissions to the air quality in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) during a persistent air pollution episode from 9 to 25 January 2014. In general, the predicted temporal variations and spatial distributions of the mass concentrations of air pollutants are in good agreement with observations at monitoring sites in BTH. The WRF-Chem model also reasonably reproduces the temporal variations in aerosol species when compared with the aerosol mass spectrometer measurements in Beijing. The RCC emissions play an important role in the haze formation in BTH, contributing about 23.1% of PM2.5 (fine particulate matter) and 42.6% of SO2 during the simulation period on average. Organic aerosols dominate the PM2.5 from the RCC emissions in BTH, with a contribution of 42.8%, followed by sulfate (17.1%). The air quality in Beijing is remarkably improved when the RCC emissions in BTH and the surrounding areas are excluded in model simulations, with a 30% decrease in PM2.5 mass concentrations. However, if only the RCC emissions in Beijing are excluded, the local PM2.5 mass concentration is decreased by 18.0% on average. Our results suggest that the implementation of the residential coal replacement by clean energy sources in Beijing is beneficial to the local air quality. Should residential coal replacement be carried out in BTH and its surrounding areas, the air quality in Beijing would be improved remarkably. Further studies would need to consider uncertainties in the emission inventory and meteorological fields.

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