Comment on acp-2021-716 [peer_review]

2021 unpublished
The Chinese government recently proposed ammonia (NH3) emissions reductions (but without a specific national target) as a strategic option to mitigate PM2.5 pollution. We combined a meta-analysis of nationwide measurements and air quality modelling to identify efficiency gains by striking a balance between controlling NH3 and acid gas (SO2 and NOx) emissions. We found that PM2.5 concentrations decreased from 2000 to 2019, but annual mean PM2.5 concentrations still exceeded 35 µg m -3 at 74% of
more » ... 498 monitoring sites in 2015-2019. Secondary inorganic aerosols (SIA) were the dominant contributor to ambient PM2.5 concentrations. While sulfate concentrations significantly decreased over the time period, no significant change was observed for nitrate and ammonium concentrations. Model simulations indicate that the effectiveness of a 50% NH3 emission reduction for controlling SIA concentrations decreased from 2010 to 2017 in four megacity clusters of eastern China, simulated for the month of January under fixed meteorological conditions ( 2010 ). Although the effectiveness further declined in 2020 for simulations including the natural experiment of substantial reductions in acid gas emissions during the CoVID-19 pandemic, the resulting reductions in SIA concentrations were on average 20.8% lower than that in 2017. In addition, the reduction of SIA concentrations in 2017 was greater for 50% acid gas reductions than for the 50% NH3 emissions reduction. Our findings indicate that persistent secondary inorganic aerosol pollution in China is limited by acid gases emissions, while an additional control on NH3 emissions would become more important as reductions of SO2 and NOx emissions progress.
doi:10.5194/acp-2021-716-rc1 fatcat:mybb3dvl2bbu3o7sfdr5vnpgkm