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A hybrid method for PM2.5 source apportionment through WRF-Chem simulations and an assessment of emission-reduction measures in western China

Journal article
Authors Junhua Yang
Shichang Kang
Zhenming Ji
Xintong Chen
Sixiao Yang
Shao Yi Lee
Benjamin de Foy
Deliang Chen
Published in Atmospheric Research
Volume 236
ISSN 0169-8095
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Keywords Control strategies, Hybrid source apportionment, PM source 2.5, Seasonal difference, Western China
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


© 2019 Elsevier B.V. To alleviate air pollution in western China, experiencing rapid economic growth following national western development strategies, an accurate and compressive assessment of PM2.5 sources is critical. Here, we firstly investigated the spatiotemporal variation in PM2.5 and analyzed its association with weather conditions and emission changes. Then, WRF-Chem simulations were conducted for an entire year to obtain various emission sectors' contributions to the PM2.5 mass by a hybrid method, which considers both the proportions of various components as well as each sector contributing to these components. The results showed that residential emissions had the largest contribution to PM2.5 because of its dominating contribution for primary components of PM2.5 (BC and POA), which can explain >70% of PM2.5. Seasonally, the residential contributions to PM2.5 were higher in the non-monsoon period than in the monsoon period because of the higher contribution ratios to primary components. Regionally, as an essential source of the gaseous precursors, the industrial and transportation sectors were the second-largest contributors to PM2.5 in the highly populated urban (HP) and remote background (RM) regions, respectively. Further assessment of emission reduction measures indicated that eliminating 50% of residential emissions induced a 29.4% and 33.1% decrease in the annual PM2.5 mass of the HP and RM regions, respectively, with higher decrease proportions in non-monsoon. By comparison, eliminating 50% of industrial emissions caused a significantly lower decrease in PM2.5 for both HP (10%) and RM (4.6%). Eliminating 50% of transportation emissions led to PM2.5 concentrations to decline by 9.3% in RM, which was greater than the 4.6% reduction caused by eliminating 50% of industrial emissions. Therefore, in addition to focusing on the residential sector, especially in non-monsoon in western China, the transportation sector should be a focus to alleviate PM2.5 pollution on the Tibetan Plateau. The outcome of this study provides valuable information for policy-makers to make strategies to mitigate air pollution in western China.

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