Articles online

Relieved Air Pollution Enhanced Urban Heat Island Intensity in the Yangtze River Delta, China

Category: Aerosol and Atmospheric Chemistry

Volume: 19 | Issue: 12 | Pages: 2683-2696
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.02.0100
PDF | Supplemental material

Export Citation:  RIS | BibTeX

To cite this article:
Wu, H., Wang, T., Wang, Q., Riemer, N., Cao, Y., Liu, C., Ma, C. and Xie, X. (2019). Relieved Air Pollution Enhanced Urban Heat Island Intensity in the Yangtze River Delta, China. Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 19: 2683-2696. doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.02.0100.

Hao Wu1,2, Tijian Wang 2, Qin’geng Wang 1, Nicole Riemer3, Yang Cao4, Chong Liu2, Chaoqun Ma2, Xiaodong Xie2

  • 1 School of Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • 2 School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
  • 3 Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  • 4 Jiangsu Urban Planning and Design Institute, Nanjing 210024, China


  • PM2.5 levels of mega cities in YRD were reduced by 29.41%–48.36%.
  • The UHI intensity was impacted by up to 1 K during the day and night.
  • PM2.5 caused the change of UHI intensity by affecting radiation.


The National Air Pollution Control Plan implemented by China in 2013 reduced the concentrations of air pollutants, especially PM2.5 (aerosol particles with an aerodynamic diameter equal to or less than 2.5 µm), between 2014 and 2017. This reduction in PM2.5 potentially affected the intensity of urban heat islands (UHIs), as the presence of fine particles can influence the energy balance of the earth-atmosphere system. In this study, the effect of the pollution control plan on the UHI intensity in the Yangtze River Delta, China, was investigated via observational analysis and numerical modeling. According to the observational data, the PM2.5 concentrations in the megacities of the Yangtze River Delta, viz., Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou and Hefei, in 2017 were ~35 µg m–3, showing decreases of approximately 48.36%, 28.25%, 29.41% and 32.5%, respectively, compared to 2014. Furthermore, these reductions in the PM2.5 concentration correlated well with the strengthened diurnal intensity (increasing by up to 1 K) and the weakened nocturnal intensity (decreasing by up to 1 K) of the UHIs. Numerical simulations confirmed that this “seesaw effect” on the UHI intensity was due to the decrease in PM2.5 and the consequent increase in the downward surface shortwave radiation and the outgoing top-of-the-atmosphere longwave radiation. Thus, the Air Pollution Control Plan noticeably affected the UHI intensity by reducing PM2.5—a factor which should be considered in future studies on urban climate and environmental planning.


PM2.5 Urban heat island WRF-Chem Yangtze River Delta

Related Article

Seasonal Variations in PM2.5-induced Oxidative Stress and Up-regulation of Pro-inflammatory Mediators

Juan Li, Yingying Liu, Zhen An, Wen Li, Xiang Zeng, Huijun Li, Jing Jiang, Jie Song, Weidong Wu
Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.06.0288

Infants’ Neurodevelopmental Effects of PM2.5 and Persistent Organohalogen Pollutants Exposure in Southern Taiwan

Cheng-Chih Kao, Chih-Cheng Chen , Japheth L. Avelino, Mariene-syne P. Cortez, Lemmuel L. Tayo, Yi-Hsien Lin, Ming-Hsieh Tsai, Chu-Wen Lin, Yi-Chyun Hsu, Lien-Te Hsieh, Chieh Lin, Lin-Chi Wang, Kwong-Leung J. Yu, How-Ran Chao