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Volume 18, issue 15 | Copyright

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

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 18, 10869-10879, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 03 Aug 2018

Research article | 03 Aug 2018

Does afforestation deteriorate haze pollution in Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH), China?

Xin Long1,3, Naifang Bei2, Jiarui Wu1, Xia Li1, Tian Feng1, Li Xing1, Shuyu Zhao1, Junji Cao1, Xuexi Tie1,4, Zhisheng An1, and Guohui Li1 Xin Long et al.
  • 1Key Lab of Aerosol Chemistry & Physics, SKLLQG, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, 710061, China
  • 2Institute of Global Environmental Change, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, 710049, China
  • 3Joint Center for Global Change Studies (JCGCS), Beijing, 100875, China
  • 4National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80303, USA

Abstract. Although aggressive emission control strategies have been implemented recently in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei area (BTH), China, pervasive and persistent haze still frequently engulfs the region during wintertime. Afforestation in BTH, primarily concentrated in the Taihang and Yan Mountains, has constituted one of the controversial factors exacerbating the haze pollution due to its slowdown of the surface wind speed. We report here an increasing trend of forest cover in BTH during 2001–2013 based on long-term satellite measurements and the impact of the afforestation on the fine-particle (PM2.5) level. Simulations using the Weather Research and Forecast model with chemistry reveal that afforestation in BTH since 2001 has generally been deteriorating the haze pollution in BTH to some degree, enhancing PM2.5 concentrations by up to 6% on average. Complete afforestation or deforestation in the Taihang and Yan Mountains would increase or decrease the PM2.5 level within 15% in BTH. Our model results also suggest that implementing a large ventilation corridor system would not be effective or beneficial to mitigate the haze pollution in Beijing.

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