NOx emission trends for China, 1995 - 2004: The view from the ground and the view from space

Qiang Zhang, David G. Streets, Kebin He, Yuxuan Wang, Andreas Richter, John P. Burrows, Itsushi Uno, Carey J. Jang, Dan Chen, Zhiliang Yao, Yu Lei

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438 Citations (Scopus)


A rapid increase of NO2 columns over China has been observed by satellite instruments in recent years. We present a 10-a regional trend of NOx emissions in China from 1995 to 2004 using a bottom-up methodology and compare the emission trends with the NO2 column trends observed from GOME and SCIAMACHY, the two spaceborne instruments. We use a dynamic methodology to reflect the dramatic change in China's NOx emissions caused by energy growth and technology renewal. We use a scenario analysis approach to identify the possible sources of uncertainties in the current bottom-up inventory, in comparison with the satellite observation data. Our best estimates for China's NOx emissions are 10.9 Tg in 1995 and 18.6 Tg in 2004, increasing by 70% during the period considered. NOx emissions and satellite-based NO2 Columns show broad agreement in temporal evolution and spatial distribution. Both the emission inventory data and the satellite observations indicate a continuous and accelerating growth rate between 1996 and 2004 over east central China. However, the growth rate from the emission inventory is lower than that from the satellite observations. From 1996 to 2004, NOx emissions over the region increased by 61% according to the inventory, while a 95% increase in the NO2 columns measured by satellite was observed during the same period. We found good agreement during summertime but a large discrepancy during wintertime. The consistency between the summertime trends suggests that the bias cannot be due to systematic error of activity data or emission factors. The reasons for the discrepancy cannot yet be fully identified, but possible explanations include an underestimation in seasonal emission variations, variability of meteorology, NOx injection height, and the increasing trend of sulfate aerosols.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberD22306
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 27 2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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