Updated emission inventories of power plants in simulating air quality during haze periods over East China
Abstract. Air pollutant emissions play a determinant role in deteriorating air quality. However, an uncertainty in emission inventories is still the key problem for modeling air pollution. In this study, an updated emission inventory of coal-fired power plants (UEIPP) based on online monitoring data in Jiangsu Province of East China for the year of 2012 was implemented in the widely used Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China (MEIC). By employing the Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), two simulation experiments were executed to assess the atmospheric environment change by using the original MEIC emission inventory and the MEIC inventory with the UEIPP. A synthetic analysis shows that power plant emissions of PM2.5, PM10, SO2, and NOx were lower, and CO, black carbon (BC), organic carbon (OC) and NMVOCs (non-methane volatile organic compounds) were higher in UEIPP relative to those in MEIC, reflecting a large discrepancy in the power plant emissions over East China. In accordance with the changes in UEIPP, the modeled concentrations were reduced for SO2 and NO2, and increased for most areas of primary OC, BC, and CO. Interestingly, when the UEIPP was used, the atmospheric oxidizing capacity significantly reinforced. This was reflected by increased oxidizing agents, e.g., O3 and OH, thus directly strengthening the chemical production from SO2 and NOx to sulfate and nitrate, respectively, which offset the reduction of primary PM2.5 emissions especially on haze days. This study indicates the importance of updating air pollutant emission inventories in simulating the complex atmospheric environment changes with implications on air quality and environmental changes.