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Annual and diurnal variations of gaseous and particulate pollutants in 31 provincial capital cities based on in situ air quality monitoring data from China National Environmental Monitoring Center


Environment International


Suping Zhao,Ye Yu,Daiying Yin,Jianjun He,Na Liu,Jianjun Qu,Jianhua Xiao








Corresponding Author

Zhao, SP

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Annual variation; Diurnal variation; Air pollution; China Cluster analysis


Long-term air quality data with high temporal and spatial resolutions are needed to understand some important processes affecting the air quality and corresponding environmental and health effects. The annual and diurnal variations of each criteria pollutant including PM2.5 and PM10 (particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 mu m and 10 pm, respectively), CO (carbon monoxide), NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), SO2 (sulfur dioxide) and O-3 (ozone) in 31 provincial capital cities between April 2014 and March 2015 were investigated by cluster analysis to evaluate current air pollution situations in China, and the cities were classified as severely, moderately, and slightly polluted cities according to the variations. The concentrations of air pollutants in winter months were significantly higher than those in other months with the exception of O-3, and the cities with the highest CO and SO2 concentrations were located in northern China. The annual variation of PM2.5 concentrations in northern cities was bimodal with comparable peaks in October 2014 and January 2015, while that in southern China was unobvious with slightly high PM2.5 concentrations in winter months. The concentrations of particulate matter and trace gases from primary emissions (SO2 and CO) and NO2 were low in the afternoon (similar to 16:00), while diurnal variation of O-3 concentrations was opposite to that of other pollutants with the highest values in the afternoon. The most polluted cities were mainly located in North China Plain, while slightly polluted cities mostly focus on southern China and the cities with high altitude such as Lasa. This study provides a basis for the formulation of future urban air pollution control measures in China.