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Published April 1, 2021 | public
Journal Article

City-level air quality improvement in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region from 2016/17 to 2017/18 heating seasons: Attributions and process analysis


With the implementation of clean air strategies, PM_(2.5) pollution abatement has been observed in the "2 + 26" cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region (referred to as the BTH2+26) and their surrounding areas. To identify the drivers for PM_(2.5) concentration decreases in the BTH2+26 cites from the 2016/17 heating season (HS1617) to the 2017/18 heating season (HS1718), we investigated the contributions of meteorological conditions and emission-reduction measures by Community Multi-Scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model simulations. The source apportionments of five sector sources (i.e., agriculture, industry, power plants, traffic and residential), and regional sources (i.e., local, within-BTH: other cities within the BTH2+26 cities, outside-BTH, and boundary conditions (BCON)) to the PM_(2.5) decreases in the BTH2+26 cities were estimated with the Integrated Source Apportionment Method (ISAM). Mean PM_(2.5) concentrations in the BTH2+26 cities substantially decreased from 77.4 to 152.5 μg m⁻³ in HS1617 to 52.9–101.9 μg m⁻³ in HS1718, with the numbers of heavy haze (daily PM_(2.5) ≥150 μg m⁻³) days decreasing from 17-77 to 5–30 days. The model simulation results indicated that the PM_(2.5) concentration decreases in most of the BTH2+26 cities were attributed to emission reductions (0.4–55.0 μg m⁻³, 2.3–81.6% of total), but the favorable meteorological conditions also played important roles (1.9–25.4 μg m⁻³, 18.4–97.7%). Residential sources dominated the PM_(2.5) reductions, leading to decreases in average PM_(2.5) concentrations by more than 30 μg m⁻³ in severely polluted cities (i.e., Shijiazhuang, Baoding, Xingtai, and Beijing). Regional source analyses showed that both local and within-BTH sources were significant contributors to PM_(2.5) concentrations for most cities. Emission controls in local and within-BTH sources in HS1718 decreased the average PM_(2.5) concentrations by 0.1–47.2 μg m⁻³ and 0.3–22.1 μg m⁻³, respectively, relative to those in HS1617. Here we demonstrate that a combination of favorable meteorological conditions and anthropogenic emission reductions contributed to the improvement of air quality from HS1617 to HS1718 in the BTH2+26 cities.

Additional Information

© 2021 Published by Elsevier. Received 25 July 2020, Revised 27 December 2020, Accepted 14 January 2021, Available online 18 January 2021. This work was partially supported by the Department of Science and Technology of China (No. 2016YFC0202702, 2018YFC0213506, and 2018YFC0213503), National Research Program for Key Issues in Air Pollution Control in China (No. DQGG0107), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21577126 and 41561144004). Part of this work was also supported by the "Zhejiang 1000 Talent Plan" and Research Center for Air Pollution and Health in Zhejiang University. Pengfei Li is supported by Initiation Fund for Introducing Talents of Hebei Agricultural University (412201904). We would like to thank Yujie Wu for his helps in the model simulations. Authorship contribution statement: S.Y., and Y.Z. conceived and designed the research. Y.Z and S.Y. performed model simulations and the data analyses. X.C., M.L., L.W., P. L. Z.L., W. L., and D.R. contributed to the scientific discussions. S.Y., Y.Z. and J.H.S wrote the paper. Declaration of competing interest: Authors declare no conflict of interests.

Additional details

August 22, 2023
October 23, 2023