Newswise — Air contamination in China arises from numerous origins and undergoes chemical and physical interactions in the atmosphere, posing challenges for accurate prognostication. The Air Pollution Complex notion emerged to tackle the inherent intricacy of air pollution, and researchers have now devised a structure to employ cutting-edge studies for foreseeing and alleviating air pollution. In this regard, a consortium of eminent scientists has delineated noteworthy advancements achieved within the past two to three years in Chinese air pollution research.

China's air pollution primarily stems from coal combustion and vehicle emissions. The coal smoke and photochemical smog, which constitute air pollution, engage in intricate chemical and physical interactions within the atmosphere, forming what is known as the Air Pollution Complex. Over the course of several decades, Chinese researchers have dedicated their efforts to studying the formation mechanisms of this complex. They have investigated the sources, sinks, transport, transformation processes, and impacts of air pollution. These extensive studies have been integrated into a theoretical framework for the Air Pollution Complex, aiding scientists in comprehending, predicting, and mitigating air pollution in China. A distinguished group of scientists specializing in air pollution and atmospheric chemistry in China has succinctly summarized the notable advancements made in these fields over the past two to three years.

The team's comprehensive review was published in the esteemed journal Advances in Atmospheric Science. This publication is part of a special issue that consists of nine review papers, all contributing to the National Report for the 28th International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics General Assembly. The assembly is scheduled to take place from July 11 to July 20, 2023, under the auspices of the Chinese National Committee of the International Association of Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences.

"The current air pollution, particularly in China, is a consequence of emissions originating from various sources, undergoing intricate chemical and physical transformations within the atmosphere," stated Tong Zhu, the primary author of the review paper and a professor at Peking University's College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering in Beijing, China. Zhu further emphasized the proposal of the Air Pollution Complex as a comprehensive and holistic approach to understanding the complexities of air pollution. "This review consolidates the latest progress in air pollution research conducted in China, highlighting their valuable contributions to the theoretical framework of the Air Pollution Complex," Zhu added.

The establishment of the theoretical framework for the Air Pollution Complex plays a crucial role in enabling atmospheric chemists and air pollution scientists to predict potential air quality hazards and shape effective environmental policies for the control and mitigation of air pollution in China. Tong Zhu highlighted the significant advancements in air pollution research, emphasizing their contribution to constructing the theoretical framework for the Air Pollution Complex and elucidating its intricate and nonlinear feedback dynamics. This theoretical framework is essential for enhancing the simulation of atmospheric physical and chemical processes that contribute to the formation of the Air Pollution Complex. It enables more accurate forecasting of air pollution with reduced uncertainties and provides robust scientific support for implementing air pollution control measures and policies.

The review team highlighted noteworthy progress in air pollution and atmospheric chemistry research conducted in China, encompassing various aspects such as air pollution sources and emissions, atmospheric chemistry, impacts on climate, meteorology, and weather, effects on the biosphere, and the development of mathematical models based on experimental observations. Tong Zhu emphasized that the advancements in atmospheric chemistry research have played a pivotal role in understanding the mechanisms behind air pollution formation in China. These scientific breakthroughs have provided robust support for the implementation of highly effective air pollution control policies within the country. Furthermore, the successful control measures implemented in China have the potential to serve as valuable examples for low-income and developing nations facing similar air pollution challenges, allowing them to adopt and adapt these strategies for their own benefit.

Zhu and his team acknowledge the necessity of collaborative efforts to have a significant global impact on air pollution. They recognize that coordinating carbon emission reduction and improving air quality presents a significant challenge in China and worldwide, aiming to achieve maximum benefits for human health. Zhu emphasized the importance of atmospheric chemistry research in China, stating that it has the capability and responsibility to make significant contributions in this area. Future research endeavors will concentrate on understanding the mechanisms involved in the formation of the Air Pollution Complex, particularly in relation to controlling PM2.5 and ozone (O3). PM2.5 refers to particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less, which has detrimental effects on human health. Additionally, ozone is a key component of photochemical smog, posing significant pollution concerns.


Journal Link: Advances in Atmospheric Sciences