13 Jun 2023
 | 13 Jun 2023

What is the cause(s) of positive ozone trends in three megacity clusters in eastern China during 2015–2020?

Tingting Hu, Yu Lin, Run Liu, Yuepeng Xu, Boguang Wang, Yuanhang Zhang, and Shaw Chen Liu

Abstract. Due to a robust emission control policy, significant reductions in major air pollutants, such as PM2.5, SO2, NO2, and CO, were observed in China between 2015 to 2020. On the other hand, during the same period, there was a notable increase in ozone (O3) concentrations, making it a prominent air pollutant in eastern China. The annual mean concentration of maximum daily 8-hour average (MDA8) O3 exhibited alarming linear trends of 2.4, 1.1, and 2.0 ppb yr–1 in three megacity clusters: three-fold increase in the number of O3-exceeding days, defined as MDA8 O3 >75 ppb during the same period. Our analysis indicated that the upward trends in the annual mean concentration of MDA8 were primarily driven by the rise in consecutive O3-exceeding days. Furthermore, from 2015 to 2017, there was a widespread expansion of high O3 concentrations from urban centers to surrounding rural regions, resulting in a more uniform spatial distribution of O3 after 2017. Lastly, we discovered a close association between O3 episodes featuring four or more consecutive O3-exceeding days and the position and strength of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH), Yangtze River Delta (YRD) and Pearl River Delta (PRD). Additionally, there was a significant the West Pacific subtropical high (WPSH). The WPSH contributed to meteorological conditions characterized by clear skies, subsiding air motion, high vertical stability in the lower troposphere, increased solar radiation, and positive temperature anomaly at the surface. These favorable meteorological conditions greatly facilitated the formation of O3. Thus, we propose that the worsening O3 trends observed in BTH, YRD and PRD from 2015 to 2020 can be attributed to enhanced photochemical O3 production resulting from an increased occurrence of meteorological conditions with high solar radiation and positive temperature anomalies under the influence of WPSH and tropical cyclones.

Tingting Hu et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1088', Anonymous Referee #1, 22 Jul 2023
  • RC2: 'Comment on egusphere-2023-1088', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Aug 2023

Tingting Hu et al.


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Short summary
We hypothesize that the cause of the worsening O3 trends in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Delta, and Pearl River Delta from 2015 to 2020 is attributable to the increased occurrence of meteorological conditions of high solar radiation and positive temperature anomaly under the influence of West Pacific Subtropical High, tropical cyclones as well as mid-high latitude wave activities.