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Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 12;7:40607. doi: 10.1038/srep40607.

Spatiotemporal Pattern of PM2.5 Concentrations in Mainland China and Analysis of Its Influencing Factors using Geographically Weighted Regression.

Luo J1,2,3, Du P1,2,3, Samat A4, Xia J5, Che M1,2,3, Xue Z6.

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Key Laboratory for Satellite Mapping Technology and Applications of State Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.
Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science and Technology, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China.
Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China.
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China.
Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo 4-6-1 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-8904, Japan.
School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 211100, China.


Based on annual average PM2.5 gridded dataset, this study first analyzed the spatiotemporal pattern of PM2.5 across Mainland China during 1998-2012. Then facilitated with meteorological site data, land cover data, population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data, etc., the contributions of latent geographic factors, including socioeconomic factors (e.g., road, agriculture, population, industry) and natural geographical factors (e.g., topography, climate, vegetation) to PM2.5 were explored through Geographically Weighted Regression (GWR) model. The results revealed that PM2.5 concentrations increased while the spatial pattern remained stable, and the proportion of areas with PM2.5 concentrations greater than 35 μg/m3 significantly increased from 23.08% to 29.89%. Moreover, road, agriculture, population and vegetation showed the most significant impacts on PM2.5. Additionally, the Moran's I for the residuals of GWR was 0.025 (not significant at a 0.01 level), indicating that the GWR model was properly specified. The local coefficient estimates of GDP in some cities were negative, suggesting the existence of the inverted-U shaped Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) for PM2.5 in Mainland China. The effects of each latent factor on PM2.5 in various regions were different. Therefore, regional measures and strategies for controlling PM2.5 should be formulated in terms of the local impacts of specific factors.

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