Articles | Volume 11, issue 23
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 12437–12451, 2011

Special issue: Regional formation processes and controlling effects of air...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 12437–12451, 2011

Research article 12 Dec 2011

Research article | 12 Dec 2011

Emission controls versus meteorological conditions in determining aerosol concentrations in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games

Y. Gao1,2, X. Liu1, C. Zhao1, and M. Zhang2 Y. Gao et al.
  • 1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry (LAPC), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Abstract. A series of emission control measures were undertaken in Beijing and the adjacent provinces in China during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games on 8–24 August 2008. This provides a unique opportunity for investigating the effectiveness of emission controls on air pollution in Beijing. We conducted a series of numerical experiments over East Asia for the period of July to September 2008 using a coupled meteorology-chemistry model (WRF-Chem). Model can generally reproduce the observed variation of aerosol concentrations. Consistent with observations, modeled concentrations of aerosol species (sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, black carbon, organic carbon, total particulate matter) in Beijing were decreased by 30–50% during the Olympic period compared to the other periods in July and August in 2008 and the same period in 2007. Model results indicate that emission controls were effective in reducing the aerosol concentrations by comparing simulations with and without emission controls. In addition to emission controls, our analysis suggests that meteorological conditions (e.g. wind direction and precipitation) were also important in producing the low aerosol concentrations appearing during the Olympic period. Transport from the regions surrounding Beijing determined the daily variation of aerosol concentrations in Beijing. Based on the budget analysis, we suggest that to improve the air quality over Beijing, emission control strategy should focus on the regional scale instead of the local scale.

Final-revised paper