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Spatio-temporal Variations in NO2 and PM2.5 over the Central Plains Economic Region of China during 2005-2015 Based on Satellite Observations

Category: Urban Air Quality

Volume: 18 | Issue: 5 | Pages: 1221-1235
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.10.0394

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Kun Cai1,2, Shenshen Li 3, Fengbin Zheng 2, Chao Yu3, Xueying Zhang4, Yang Liu2, Yujing Li2

  • 1 College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
  • 2 College of Computer and Information Engineering, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, China
  • 3 State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 4 Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, USA


Air pollution in the CPER was first time analyzed by 11-year satellite data.
The NO2 and PM2.5 distributions showed significant regional differences.
The seasonal trends ranked as follows: winter, fall, spring and summer.


The Central Plains Economic Region (CPER) is located in central eastern China and has experienced tremendous economic growth in the last decade. Like many areas in China, the rapid economic development of the CPER has led to serious air pollution problems, including extremely high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5). However, the current air pollution monitoring system lacks good spatial and temporal coverage. Therefore, we used high-resolution satellite remote sensing techniques to analyze the variation in NO2 and PM2.5 in the CPER from 2005 through 2015. The Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) were used to retrieve the tropospheric NO2 columns and ground-level PM2.5 concentrations, respectively. High NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations were mainly located in the central and northern areas of the CPER. The highest 11-year average concentrations were found in the city of Jiaozuo for NO2 (19.54 × 1015 molecules cm–2) and in the city of Hebi for PM2.5 (107.8 µg m–3). The western and southern mountainous areas had lower NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations. The average seasonal NO2 and PM2.5 concentrations were both highest in winter and lowest in summer. The average monthly concentrations of NO2 and PM2.5 were as high as 24.60 × 1015 molecules cm–2 and 152.2 µg m–3, respectively, in January 2013 and as low as 43.86 × 1015 molecules cm–2 and 40.2 µg m–3, respectively, in July 2006. During the 11-year study period (2005–2015), the CPER concentrations of both NO2 and PM2.5 decreased from 2011 to 2015 by 31.5% and 36.8%, respectively. This study successfully applies satellite remote sensing data to quantitatively analyze the spatial-temporal distributions of tropospheric NO2 and ground-level PM2.5. This approach can support air pollution monitoring in the CPER, and the estimated concentrations can provide references for environmental policymaking.



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