Potential Changes in the Sensitivities of Inorganic Fine Particulate Matter to Precursor Emissions in China


Thursday, March 28, 2019, 3:30pm to 4:45pm


Pierce Hall 100F, 29 Oxford St., Cambridge, MA

Speaker: LI Mingwei

Li Mingwei, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: Atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) can penetrate deeply into the lungs and circulatory system, causing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. China has the highest PM2.5 concentrations in the world, and inorganic PM2.5 is a major component. Inorganic PM2.5 is mainly formed in the atmosphere through non-linear chemical processes from its precursors—sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and ammonia (NH3), which come mostly from human activities. Examining how inorganic PM2.5 responds to changes in precursor emissions, i.e. sensitivities of PM2.5 to emissions, can help design effective pollution control policies. In this talk I will discuss potential changes in the sensitivities of inorganic PM2.5 to precursor emissions in China in response to the projected reductions in SO2 and NOx emissions using GEOS-Chem. Anthropogenic emissions through 2030 are predicted from an energy-economic model with sub-national detail for China (C-REM). We find that January PM2.5 is most sensitive to NH3 emissions regardless of the reductions in SO2 and NOx emissions, but its sensitivity declines by 30% when the projected SO2 and NOx emissions decrease by 60% and 30% in 2030, while the sensitivity to NOx emissions increases by nearly a factor of three. Inorganic PM2.5 is more sensitive to SO2 and NOx emissions in summer, and its sensitivities to three precursors remain almost unchanged in 2030.

Sponsored by China Project, Harvard Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.