Comparison and evaluation of anthropogenic emissions of SO2 and NOx over China
Abstract. Bottom-up emission inventories provide primary understanding of sources of air pollution and essential input of chemical transport models. Focusing on SO2 and NOx, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of two widely used anthropogenic emission inventories over China, ECLIPSE and MIX, to explore the potential sources of uncertainties and find clues to improve emission inventories. We first compared the activity rates and emission factors used in two inventories and investigated the reasons of differences and the impacts on emission estimates. We found that SO2 emission estimates are consistent between two inventories (with 1 % differences), while NOx emissions in ECLIPSE's estimates are 16 % lower than those of MIX. The FGD (flue-gas desulfurization) device penetration rate and removal efficiency, LNB (low-NOx burner) application rate and abatement efficiency in power plants, emission factors of industrial boilers and various vehicle types, and vehicle fleet need further verification. Diesel consumptions are quite uncertain in current inventories. Discrepancies at the sectorial and provincial levels are much higher than those of the national total. We then examined the impacts of different inventories on model performance by using the nested GEOS-Chem model. We finally derived top-down emissions by using the retrieved columns from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) compared with the bottom-up estimates. High correlations were observed for SO2 between model results and OMI columns. For NOx, negative biases in bottom-up gridded emission inventories (−21 % for MIX, −39 % for ECLIPSE) were found compared to the satellite-based emissions. The emission trends from 2005 to 2010 estimated by two inventories were both consistent with satellite observations. The inventories appear to be fit for evaluation of the policies at an aggregated or national level; more work is needed in specific areas in order to improve the accuracy and robustness of outcomes at finer spatial and also technological levels. To our knowledge, this is the first work in which source comparisons detailed to technology-level parameters are made along with the remote sensing retrievals and chemical transport modeling. Through the comparison between bottom-up emission inventories and evaluation with top-down information, we identified potential directions for further improvement in inventory development.