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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Apr 16;116(16):7760-7765. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1814880116. Epub 2019 Apr 1.

Ammonia emission control in China would mitigate haze pollution and nitrogen deposition, but worsen acid rain.

Author information

1
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, Department of Environmental Science, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China.
2
Joint International Research Laboratory of Atmospheric and Earth System Sciences, School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, 210023 Nanjing, China.
3
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, Department of Environmental Science, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China; songyu@pku.edu.cn tzhu@pku.edu.cn.
4
Meteorological Observation Center, China Meteorological Administration, 100081 Beijing, China.
5
State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 710061 Xi'an, China.
6
Key Laboratory of Aerosol Chemistry and Physics, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 710061 Xi'an, China.
7
State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Chemistry of China Meteorological Administration, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, 100081 Beijing, China.
8
Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Earth System Modeling, Center for Earth System Science, Institute for Global Change Studies, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China.
9
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, 100084 Beijing, China.
10
Laboratory for Atmosphere-Ocean Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, School of Physics, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China.
11
National Engineering Research Center for Flue Gas Desulfurization, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Sichuan University, 610065 Chengdu, China.
12
School of Environment and Resource, Southwest University of Science and Technology, 621010 Mianyang, China.
13
Department of Chemistry, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Hong Kong, China.
14
Division of Environment & Sustainability, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Hong Kong, China.
15
Key Laboratory for Urban Habitat Environmental Science and Technology, School of Environment and Energy, Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School, 518055 Shenzhen, China.
16
Environment Research Institute, Shandong University, 250100 Jinan, China.
17
State Key Laboratory of Environmental Criteria and Risk Assessment, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Science, 100012 Beijing, China.
18
Environmental Quality Forecast Center, China National Environmental Monitoring Center, 100012 Beijing, China.
19
Beijing Innovation Center for Engineering Science and Advanced Technology, Peking University, 100871 Beijing, China.

Abstract

China has been experiencing fine particle (i.e., aerodynamic diameters ≤ 2.5 µm; PM2.5) pollution and acid rain in recent decades, which exert adverse impacts on human health and the ecosystem. Recently, ammonia (i.e., NH3) emission reduction has been proposed as a strategic option to mitigate haze pollution. However, atmospheric NH3 is also closely bound to nitrogen deposition and acid rain, and comprehensive impacts of NH3 emission control are still poorly understood in China. In this study, by integrating a chemical transport model with a high-resolution NH3 emission inventory, we find that NH3 emission abatement can mitigate PM2.5 pollution and nitrogen deposition but would worsen acid rain in China. Quantitatively, a 50% reduction in NH3 emissions achievable by improving agricultural management, along with a targeted emission reduction (15%) for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, can alleviate PM2.5 pollution by 11-17% primarily by suppressing ammonium nitrate formation. Meanwhile, nitrogen deposition is estimated to decrease by 34%, with the area exceeding the critical load shrinking from 17% to 9% of China's terrestrial land. Nevertheless, this NH3 reduction would significantly aggravate precipitation acidification, with a decrease of as much as 1.0 unit in rainfall pH and a corresponding substantial increase in areas with heavy acid rain. An economic evaluation demonstrates that the worsened acid rain would partly offset the total economic benefit from improved air quality and less nitrogen deposition. After considering the costs of abatement options, we propose a region-specific strategy for multipollutant controls that will benefit human and ecosystem health.

KEYWORDS:

China; PM2.5; acid rain; ammonia emission; nitrogen deposition

PMID:
30936298
PMCID:
PMC6475379
[Available on 2019-10-01]
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1814880116

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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