Articles | Volume 23, issue 7
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-23-4149-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-23-4149-2023
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05 Apr 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 05 Apr 2023

Foreign emissions exacerbate PM2.5 pollution in China through nitrate chemistry

Jun-Wei Xu, Jintai Lin, Gan Luo, Jamiu Adeniran, and Hao Kong

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Latest update: 28 Feb 2024
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This paper investigates the influence of internationally-transported pollution on China, with a specific highlight on the formation of secondary PM2.5 in the form of nitrate. While sources from within China have traditionally been of most interest for domestic air quality policy, these have diminished over recent years, so sources from outside China may become more significant. The topic of transboundary exchange of air pollution has long been studied in other parts of the world, in particular among CLRTAP signatory countries in North America and Europe, but East Asian transboundary pollution represents a different challenge, in part owing to differences in geography and emissions, but also compared to Europe in particular, the transportation scales are much larger. This work not only quantifies the impacts of long distance pollution on Chinese air quality, but also highlights the complex chemical interactions between the local and transboundary pollutants. Papers such as this will likely influence the debate regarding international controls of air pollutants.
Short summary
Research on the sources of Chinese PM2.5 pollution has focused on the contributions of China’s domestic emissions. However, the impact of foreign anthropogenic emissions has typically been simplified or neglected. Here we find that foreign anthropogenic emissions play an important role in Chinese PM2.5 pollution through chemical interactions between foreign-transported pollutants and China’s local emissions. Thus, foreign emission reductions are essential for improving Chinese air quality.
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