Increasing Anthropogenic Emissions in China Offset Air Quality Policy Efforts in Western United States: A Satellite and Modelling Perspective

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 8:45 AM
Willem W Verstraeten1,2, Klaas Folkert Boersma1,2, Jason E Williams2, Jessica L. Neu3, Kevin W Bowman3 and John Worden4, (1)Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands, (2)Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, Earth Observations, De Bilt, Netherlands, (3)Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (4)JPL / Caltech, Pasadena, CA, United States
Tropospheric ozone is an important greenhouse gas and a global air pollutant originating from photo-chemical oxidation of ozone precursors in the presence of NOX. Eastern Asia has the fastest growing anthropogenic emissions in the world, possibly affecting both the pollution in the local troposphere as well as in the trans-Pacific region. Local measurements over Asia show that tropospheric ozone has increased by 1 to 3% per year since the start of the millennium. This increase is often invoked to explain positive ozone trends observed in western United States, but to date there is no unambiguous evidence showing that enhanced Asian pollution is responsible for these trends.

Here we interpret satellite measurements of tropospheric ozone and its precursor nitrate dioxide from the Aura Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer (TES) and Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) using the TM5 global chemistry-transport model to directly show that tropospheric ozone over China has increased by ~10% from 2005-2010 in response to both a ~15% rise in Chinese emissions and an increased downward ozone transport from the stratosphere.

What is more, we demonstrate that Chinese export of ozone and its precursors have offset one-third of the reduction in free tropospheric ozone over the western United States that should have occurred during 2005-2010 via emissions reductions associated with air quality policies in the United States. The issue of export and long-range transport of pollution from other countries indicates that global efforts may be required to address both the global as well as the regional air quality and climate change.