Yaping Ma1, Tzung-May Fu This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2,3, Heng Tian1, Jian Gao4, Min Hu5, Jianping Guo6, Yangmei Zhang7, Yele Sun8, Lijuan Zhang1, Xin Yang2,3, Xiaofei Wang9,10

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
2 State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Integrated Surface Water-Groundwater Pollution Control, School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, Guangdong 518055, China
3 Shenzhen Institute of Sustainable Development, Southern University of Science and Technology, Guangdong 518055, China
4 State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science, Beijing 100012, China
5 State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
6 State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
7 Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
8 State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100191, China
9 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
10 Shanghai Institute of Pollution Control and Ecological Security, Shanghai 200092, China


Received: September 9, 2019
Revised: April 26, 2020
Accepted: April 28, 2020

Download Citation: ||https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.09.0442

Cite this article:

Ma, Y., Fu, T. M., Tian, H., Gao, J., Hu, M., Guo, J., Zhang, Y., Sun, Y., Zhang, L., Yang, X. and Wang, X. (2020). Emergency Response Measures to Alleviate a Severe Haze Pollution Event in Northern China during December 2015: Assessment of Effectiveness. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. https://doi.org/10.4209/aaqr.2019.09.0442


  • Reduction of anthropogenic emissions in NCP associated with ERMs was calculated.
  • WRF-Chem using reduced anthropogenic emissions reproduced the observed PM2.5.
  • Modest effect on PM2.5 decline due to the shorter duration of ERMs than PM2.5 lifetime.
  • Reducing public exposure to high PM2.5 is necessary during haze events.


We used the WRF-Chem model to simulate the surface PM2.5 concentrations over the Northern China Plain (NCP) during a severe haze event between December 6 and 10, 2015, with the goal of assessing the effectiveness of the emergency response measures (ERMs) implemented during this period to alleviate the haze pollution. We estimated that, with the exception of NH3, anthropogenic pollutant emissions were significantly reduced by 8% to 48% over the NCP during December 6 to 10 as a result of the ERM-implementation. Our simulations using the reduced anthropogenic emissions reproduced the observed PM2.5 concentrations and compositions over the NCP during the severe haze event. During the haze event, stagnant regional meteorological conditions led to a lengthening of the PM2.5 lifetime in the NCP boundary layer to 5 days, compared to a 1-day lifetime during the preceeding clean period. During the severe haze event, only approximately 20% of the surface PM2.5 in Beijing was attributable to local emissions, while more than 62% of the surface PM2.5 in the rest of NCP was attributable to local emissions. We found that the effects of the implemented ERMs to be modest, reducing the mean surface PM2.5 concentrations during the polluted period by 7% in Beijing and by 4% for the rest of the NCP. This modest effect was because the duration of the ERM enforcement was much shorter than the lifetime of PM2.5 during the haze event, such that there was insufficient time for the PM2.5 concentrations to fully reflect the reduction in emissions. We conclude that anthropogenic emissions in the NCP during severe wintertime haze events would have to be reduced by a much larger percentage if more pronounced abatement of PM2.5 concentrations were desired.

Keywords: PM2.5; Severe haze; Emission reduction; Northern China; WRF-Chem.


Latest Articles