Articles | Volume 8, issue 24
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 7583–7594, 2008
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 7583–7594, 2008

  17 Dec 2008

17 Dec 2008

Traffic restrictions in Beijing during the Sino-African Summit 2006: aerosol size distribution and visibility compared to long-term in situ observations

Y. F. Cheng1, J. Heintzenberg1, B. Wehner1, Z. J. Wu1, H. Su2, M. Hu2, and J. T. Mao3 Y. F. Cheng et al.
  • 1Leibniz-Institute for Tropospheric Research, 04318 Leipzig, Germany
  • 2State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 3Department of Atmospheric Physics, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China

Abstract. Based on the long-term in-situ observations of aerosol particle number size distributions and meteorological parameters, the measures of traffic restriction during the Sino-African Summit (4–6 November 2006) in Beijing, China have been found to be efficient in reducing the number concentration of aerosol particles, in particular Aitken and accumulation mode particles, and in improving the visibility when local emissions dominated. The influence of traffic restrictions on the particle concentrations differed for different particle sizes. More significant effects on fine particles with diameters ranging from 40 to 500 nm have been found. Based on statistical analysis of long-term observations, under comparable weather conditions, the number concentrations of the particles in Aitken and accumulation modes seemingly were reduced by 20–60% when the traffic restrictions were in place. This change may be mainly due to the reduction of secondary particle contributions. However, it is worth to notice that the reduction of 60% might overestimate the effect of the measures of traffic control, due to the inherent data shortage with very high wind speeds in the comparison data population. Our size-dependent aerosol data also indicate that measures led to reductions in particulate air pollution in the optically most important diameter range, whereas further vehicle restriction measures might lead to an increase in ultrafine particle formation if the condensational sink further decreased. Assuming that there were no traffic restrictions and with normal levels of the vehicle emissions, the visibilities during the Summit would have been lower by about 20–45%. The fact that over 95% cases with visibility range lower than 5 km during 2004 to 2007 occurred when the local wind speed was lower than 3 m s−1 may suggest that the importance of the emission restrictions is highest when the wind speed is lower than 3 m s−1, concerning the improvement of serious low visibility situations in Beijing.

Final-revised paper