Observation of regional air pollutant transport between the megacity Beijing and the North China Plain
Abstract. Megacities have strong interactions with the surrounding regions through transport of air pollutants. It has been frequently addressed that the air quality of Beijing is influenced by the influx of air pollutants from the North China Plain (NCP). Estimations of air pollutant cross-boundary transport between Beijing and the NCP are important for air quality management. However, evaluation of cross-boundary transport using long-term observations is very limited. Using the observational results of the gaseous pollutants SO2, NO, NO2, O3, and CO from August 2006 to October 2008 at the Yufa site, a cross-boundary site between the megacity Beijing and the NCP, together with meteorological parameters, we explored a method for evaluating the transport flux intensities at Yufa, as part of the “Campaign of Air Quality Research in Beijing and Surrounding Region 2006–2008” (CAREBeijing 2006–2008). The hourly mean ± SD (median) concentration of SO2, NO, NO2, NOx, O3, Ox, and CO was 15 ± 16 (9) ppb, 12 ± 25 (3) ppb, 24 ± 19 (20) ppb, 36 ± 39 (23) ppb, 28 ± 27 (21) ppb, 52 ± 24 (45) ppb, and 1.6 ± 1.4 (1.2) ppm during the observation period, respectively. The bivariate polar plots showed the dependence of pollutant concentrations on both wind speed and wind direction, and thus inferred their dominant transport directions. Surface flux intensity calculations further demonstrated the regional transport influence of Beijing and the NCP on Yufa. The net surface transport flux intensity (mean ± SD) of SO2, NO, NO2, NOx, O3, Ox, and CO was 6.2 ± 89.5, −4.3 ± 29.5, −0.6 ± 72.3, −4.9 ± 93.0, 14.7 ± 187.8, 14.8 ± 234.9, and 70 ± 2830 µg s−1 m−2 during the observation period, respectively. For SO2, CO, O3, and Ox the surface flux intensities from the NCP to Yufa surpassed those from Beijing to Yufa in all seasons except winter, with the strongest net fluxes largely in summer, which were about 4–8 times those of other seasons. The surface transport flux intensity of NOx from Beijing to Yufa was stronger than that from the NCP to Yufa except in summer, with the strongest net flux in winter, which was about 1.3–8 times that of other seasons. The flux intensities were then assigned to the corresponding trajectories in the potential source contribution function analysis (PSCF), which confirmed the results of flux intensity calculations. Our study also suggested that various factors, such as the wind field, emission inventory, and photochemical reactions, could influence transport of air pollutants. The decrease of surface flux intensity during the Olympic Games implied the role of both local emission reduction and regional cooperation in successful air quality management. Three dimensional observations are needed for further comprehensive discussion of the regional transport between Beijing and the NCP.