Quantifying sources of elemental carbon over the Guanzhong Basin of China:
A consistent network of measurements and WRF-Chem modeling
We conducted a year-long WRF-Chem (Weather Research and Forecasting Chemical) model simulation of elemental carbon (EC) aerosol and compared the modeling results to the surface EC measurements in the Guanzhong (GZ) Basin of China. The main goals of this study were to quantify the individual contributions of different EC sources to EC pollution, and to find the major cause of the EC pollution in this region. The EC measurements were simultaneously conducted at 10 urban, rural, and background sites over the GZ Basin from May 2013 to April 2014, and provided a good base against which to evaluate model simulation. The model evaluation showed that the calculated annual mean EC concentration was 5.1 μgC m−3, which was consistent with the observed value of 5.3 μgC m−3. Moreover, the model result also reproduced the magnitude of measured EC in all seasons (regression slope = 0.98–1.03), as well as the spatial and temporal variations (r = 0.55–0.78). We conducted several sensitivity studies to quantify the individual contributions of EC sources to EC pollution. The sensitivity simulations showed that the local and outside sources contributed about 60% and 40% to the annual mean EC concentration, respectively, implying that local sources were the major EC pollution contributors in the GZ Basin. Among the local sources, residential sources contributed the most, followed by industry and transportation sources. A further analysis suggested that a 50% reduction of industry or transportation emissions only caused a 6% decrease in the annual mean EC concentration, while a 50% reduction of residential emissions reduced the winter surface EC concentration by up to 25%. In respect to the serious air pollution problems (including EC pollution) in the GZ Basin, our findings can provide an insightful view on local air pollution control strategies.