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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics ; 22(19):13183-13200, 2022.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-2067020


Emission inventories are essential for modelling studies and pollution control, but traditional emission inventories are usually updated after a few years based on the statistics of “bottom-up” approach from the energy consumption in provinces, cities, and counties. The latest emission inventories of multi-resolution emission inventory in China (MEIC) was compiled from the statistics for the year 2016 (MEIC_2016). However, the real emissions have varied yearly, due to national pollution control policies and accidental special events, such as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. In this study, a four-dimensional variational assimilation (4DVAR) system based on the “top-down” approach was developed to optimise sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by assimilating the data of SO2 concentrations from surface observational stations. The 4DVAR system was then applied to obtain the SO2 emissions during the early period of COVID-19 pandemic (from 17 January to 7 February 2020), and the same period in 2019 over China. The results showed that the average MEIC_2016, 2019, and 2020 emissions were42.2×106, 40.1×106, and 36.4×106 kg d-1. The emissions in 2020 decreased by 9.2 % in relation to the COVID-19 lockdown compared with those in 2019. For central China, where the lockdown measures were quite strict, the mean 2020 emission decreased by 21.0 % compared with 2019 emissions. Three forecast experiments were conducted using the emissions of MEIC_2016, 2019, and 2020 to demonstrate the effects of optimised emissions. The root mean square error (RMSE) in the experiments using 2019 and 2020 emissions decreased by 28.1 % and 50.7 %, and the correlation coefficient increased by 89.5 % and 205.9 % compared with the experiment using MEIC_2016. For central China, the average RMSE in the experiments with 2019 and 2020 emissions decreased by 48.8 % and 77.0 %, and the average correlation coefficient increased by 44.3 % and 238.7 %, compared with the experiment using MEIC_2016 emissions. The results demonstrated that the 4DVAR system effectively optimised emissions to describe the actual changes in SO2 emissions related to the COVID lockdown, and it can thus be used to improve the accuracy of forecasts.