18 Nov 2021

18 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

North China Plain as a hot spot of ozone pollution exacerbated by extreme high temperatures

Pinya Wang1, Yang Yang1, Huimin Li1, Lei Chen1, Ruijun Dang2, Daokai Xue3, Baojie Li1, Jianping Tang3, L. Ruby Leung1, and Hong Liao4 Pinya Wang et al.
  • 1Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Environment Monitoring and Pollution Control, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Atmospheric Environment and Equipment Technology, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 2School of Engineering and Applied Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 3School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 4Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA

Abstract. A large population in China has been increasingly exposed to both severe ozone (O3) pollution and extreme heat under global warming. Here, the spatiotemporal characteristics of coupled extremes in surface O3 and heat (OPCs) over China are investigated using surface observations, a process-based chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem), and multi-model simulations from Phase 6 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP6). North China Plain (NCP, 37–41° N; 114–120° E) is identified as a hot spot of OPCs, where more than half of the O3 pollution days are accompanied by high temperature extremes. OPCs over NCP exceed 40 days during 2014–2019, exhibiting an increasing trend. Both O3 concentrations and temperatures are elevated during OPCs compared to O3 pollution days occurring individually (OPIs). Therefore, OPCs impose more severe health impacts to human than OPIs, but the stronger health effects are mainly driven by the higher temperatures. GEOS-Chem simulations further reveal that enhanced chemical production resulting from hot and stable atmospheric condition under anomalous weather pattern primarily contributes to the exacerbated O3 levels during OPCs. In the future, CMIP6 projections suggest increased occurrences of OPCs over NCP in the middle of this century, but by the end of this century, OPCs may decrease or increase depending on the pollutant emission scenarios. However, for all future scenarios, extreme high temperature will play an increasingly important role in modulating O3 pollution in a warming climate.

Pinya Wang et al.

Status: open (until 30 Dec 2021)

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Pinya Wang et al.


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Short summary
China is now suffering from both severe ozone (O3) pollution and heat events. We highlight that North China Plain is the hot spot of the co-occurrences of extremes in O3 and high temperatures in China. Such coupled extremes exhibit an increasing trend during 2014–2019 and will continue to increase by the middle of this century. And the coupled extremes impose more severe health impacts to human than O3 pollution occurring alone because of elevated O3 levels and temperatures.