Atmospheric Chemistry and Transport Modeling

A primary tool used in our research on atmospheric chemistry is the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model, and a nested-grid version of the model focused on East Asia developed by WANG Yuxuan as a student affiliate of the Harvard-China Project (now at Tsinghua University and University of Houston) with Project Chair Michael B. McELROY.

Click on "More Publications" below for a full list of publications supported by the Harvard-China Project in this research area. 
Validated by agreement of modeled concentrations with measurements made by ground stations, aircraft, and satellites, nested-grid models can differentiate air transport mechanisms for regions of China on a finer scale than previously possible. They capture the effects of sources far outside of the target domain and also seasonally changing meteorology—such as cold fronts in winter and monsoonal patterns in summer—on regional air quality. 
Using this model and other analytical approaches, researchers have studied the transport and secondary chemistry of diverse air pollutants and the effectiveness of control policies on concentrations. Applied in inverse mode—in which atmospheric concentrations observed by ground stations, aircraft, and satellites are use to derive optimized emissions—such models also provide independent checks on bottom-up emission inventories of nitrogen oxides (NOX), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and other pollutants and greenhouse gases. 

Show More

The China Project's atmospheric research is committed to building observationally validated, fundamental research on the physical and chemical dimensions of China’s atmospheric environment, from urban to global scales. In addition to the model-based research described here, it includes field observations described here and bottom-up emissions research described here. It is also a core component of a Project-wide interdisciplinary framework now being applied to evaluation of national GHG and pollution control policies, described here.

Acknowledgment: Some of the papers cited here are based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. ATM-1019134 or ATM-0635548 (indicated by acknowledgments in the papers). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Related Publications

More Publications

Related News

MEP meeting

High-Level Meetings with Ministers Xie and Li

August 30, 2017

On August 4, China’s lead official on climate change, Minister XIE Zhenhua, hosted a research and policy consultation with Profs. Mike McELROY, Steve WOFSY, executive director Chris NIELSEN, and Project alumni Dr. ZHANG Hongjun (Holland & Knight, LLP) and Prof. LU Xi (Tsinghua University) at his offices in Beijing. Discussion topics included the state of U.S.-China engagement on climate and the growing role of subnational governments, disparate regional capacities for carbon control within China... Read more about High-Level Meetings with Ministers Xie and Li

Mario Molina lecture photo

Nobelist Mario Molina Public Lecture on Air Quality in Beijing and Mexico City

February 10, 2017

On February 8, 2017, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina gave a public lecture to a capacity crowd in the Science Center, in which he discussed and compared air quality issues in megacities. Focusing on Mexico City and Beijing, he argued that cities can learn from each other and that fundamental scientific research remains essential to creative air quality solutions. The lecture was sponsored by the China Project, and co-sponsored by the Harvard Global Institute, the Harvard Center for the Environment, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Department of Environmental Health.
See also: Multimedia
... Read more about Nobelist Mario Molina Public Lecture on Air Quality in Beijing and Mexico City