EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Chinese emissions reductions deliver reduced PM2.5-caused mortality across China during 2015-2017

Ben Silver1, Luke Conibear1, Carly Reddington1, Christophe Knote2, Steve Arnold1, and Dominick Spracklen1
Ben Silver et al.
  • 1University of Leeds, Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (
  • 2Meteorological Institute, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Theresienstr. 37, Munich, 80333, Germany

Air pollution is a serious environmental issue and leading contributor to the disease burden in China. Following severe air pollution episodes during the 2012-2013 winter, the Chinese government has prioritised efforts to reduce PM2.5 emissions, and established a national monitoring network to record air quality trends. Rapid reductions in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations and increased ozone concentrations have occurred across China, during 2015 to 2017. We used measurements of particulate matter with a diameter < 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and Ozone (O3) from >1000 stations across China combined with similar datasets from Hong Kong and Taiwan to calculate trends in PM2.5, Nitrogen Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide and O3 across the greater China region during 2015-2019. We then use the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) regional air quality simulations, to explore the drivers and impacts of observed trends. Using annually varying emissions from the Multi-resolution Emission Inventory for China, we simulate air quality across China during 2015-2017, and calculate a median PM2.5 trends of -3.9 µg m-3 year-1. The measured nationwide median PM2.5 trend of -3.4 µg m-3 year-. With anthropogenic emissions fixed at 2015-levels, the simulated trend was much weaker (-0.6 µg m-3 year-1), demonstrating interannual variability in meteorology played a minor role in the observed PM2.5 trend. The model simulated increased ozone concentrations in line with the measurements, but underestimated the magnitude of the observed absolute trend by a factor of 2. We combined simulated trends in PM2.5 concentrations with an exposure-response function to estimate that reductions in PM2.5 concentrations over this period have reduced PM2.5-attribrutable premature morality across China by 150 000 deaths year-1.

How to cite: Silver, B., Conibear, L., Reddington, C., Knote, C., Arnold, S., and Spracklen, D.: Chinese emissions reductions deliver reduced PM2.5-caused mortality across China during 2015-2017, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-19729,, 2020


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