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

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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. 20: 2098–2116. 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.


Using the WRF-Chem model, we simulated the surface PM2.5 concentrations on the North China Plain (NCP) during a severe winter haze episode (December 6–10, 2015) with the goal of assessing the effectiveness of the implemented emergency response measures (ERMs) in alleviating the pollution. We estimated that the ERMs decreased the anthropogenic pollutant emissions, with the exception of NH3, by 8–48% during this event. Inputting these reduced emission estimates, our simulations reproduced the observed PM2.5 concentrations and compositions. Stagnant regional meteorological conditions increased the lifetime of the PM2.5 in the NCP boundary layer from 1 day during the clean period to 5 days during the haze episode. Additionally, local emissions accounted for approximately only 20% of the surface PM2.5 in Beijing but more than 62% over the rest of the NCP. We found that the ERMs achieved a modest reduction in the mean surface PM2.5 concentrations during the event, decreasing them by 7% and 4% in Beijing and across the rest of the NCP, respectively. The limited effect was due to the duration of the ERMs being much shorter than the lifetime of the PM2.5, which prevented the concentrations of the latter from fully reflecting the reduction in emissions. We conclude that anthropogenic emissions on the NCP during severe winter haze episodes must be reduced by a much larger percentage to substantially abate the PM2.5 concentrations.

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


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