Yike Zhou1,2, Zhiwei Han 2,3, Ruiting Liu2,3, Bin Zhu1,4, Jiawei Li2, Renjian Zhang2

Collaborative Innovation Center on Forecast and Evaluation of Meteorological Disasters, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
CAS Key Laboratory of Regional Climate-Environment for Temperate East Asia (RCE-TEA), Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100029, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Key Laboratory for Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation of China Meteorological Administration, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China

Received: September 27, 2017
Revised: January 15, 2018
Accepted: January 15, 2018
Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.09.0334  

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Cite this article:
Zhou, Y., Han, Z., Liu, R., Zhu, B., Li, J. and Zhang, R. (2018). A Modeling Study of the Impact of Crop Residue Burning on PM2.5 Concentration in Beijing and Tianjin during a Severe Autumn Haze Event. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 18: 1558-1572. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2017.09.0334


  • A severe haze event affecting Beijing and Tianjin was numerically investigated.
  • Intensive crop residue fires were detected over southern parts of the North China Plain.
  • Crop burning emission contributed 19% to Beijing surface PM2.5 level in the haze episode.
  • It contributed 40% and 29% to Beijing organic carbon and primary PM2.5, respectively.


Crop residue burning is one of the important types of biomass burning in China and has potentially important effect on air quality and climate. A coupled meteorology and aerosol/chemistry model (WRF-Chem) with ground and satellite observations and biomass burning emission inventory were applied to investigate the spatial/temporal distribution and transport pathways of air pollutants and to quantify the contribution of crop residue burning to aerosol concentration in the North China Plain, with focus on Beijing and Tianjin during a severe haze episode on 7–11 October 2014, when the daily mean surface PM2.5 concentration in Beijing reached 317 µg m3. During this period, intensive crop fires were detected over wide areas of eastern Henan, southern Hebei and western Shandong, and the crop residue burning emission was much larger than anthropogenic emission in major fire areas. Model comparison with ground observations demonstrated the WRF-Chem was able to generally reproduce surface meteorological variables and PM2.5 concentration, although it tended to overpredict wind speed and aerosol concentration in some locations. Taking crop residue burning into account can apparently improve PM2.5 prediction during the haze episode. The stagnant weather condition favored haze formation and maintenance in this region, and crop residue burning intensified haze pollution in both fire source and downwind regions. The crop residue burning emission on average contributed 19% to surface PM2.5 concentration in Beijing during the haze episode, in which it contributed 40% and 29% to organic carbon aerosol and primary PM2.5, respectively, and less to black carbon aerosol (4.9%). The impact of crop residue burning in Tianjin was smaller than that in Beijing, with an average contribution of 7.4% due to different fire sources and transport pathways.

Keywords: Crop residue burning; Beijing and Tianjin; Surface PM2.5 concentration; Long range transport; FINN emission inventory; WRF-Chem simulation.


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