WRF-Chem modeling of particulate matter in the Yangtze River Delta region:
Source apportionment and its sensitivity to emission changes
China has been troubled by high concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) for many years. Up to now, the pollutant sources are not yet fully understood and the control approach still remains highly uncertain. In this study, four month-long (January, April, July and October in 2015) WRF-Chem simulations with different sensitivity experiments were conducted in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region of eastern China. The simulated results were compared with abundant meteorological and air quality observations at 138 stations in 26 YRD cities. Our model well captured magnitudes and variations of the observed PM2.5, with the normal mean biases (NMB) less than ±20% for 19 out of the 26 YRD cities. A series of sensitivity simulations were conducted to quantify the contributions from individual source sectors and from different regions to the PM2.5 in the YRD region. The calculated results show that YRD local source contributed 64% of the regional PM2.5 concentration, while outside transport contributed the rest 36%. Among the local sources, industry activity was the most significant sector in spring (25%), summer (36%) and fall (33%), while residential source was more important in winter (38%). We further conducted scenario simulations to explore the potential impacts of varying degrees of emission controls on PM2.5 reduction. The result demonstrated that regional cooperative control could effectively reduce the PM2.5 level. The proportionate emission controls of 10%, 20%, 30%, 40% and 50% could reduce the regional mean PM2.5 concentrations by 10%, 19%, 28%, 37% and 46%, respectively, and for places with higher ambient concentrations, the mitigation efficiency was more significant. Our study on source apportionment and emission controls can provide useful information on further mitigation actions.