Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (Sep 2011)

Photochemical production of ozone in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games

  • C. C.-K. Chou,
  • C.-Y. Tsai,
  • C.-C. Chang,
  • P.-H. Lin,
  • S. C. Liu,
  • T. Zhu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11, no. 18
pp. 9825 – 9837


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As a part of the CAREBeijing-2008 campaign, observations of O<sub>3</sub>, oxides of nitrogen (NO<sub>x</sub> and NO<sub>y</sub>), CO, and hydrocarbons (NMHCs) were carried out at the air quality observatory of the Peking University in Beijing, China during August 2008, including the period of the 29th Summer Olympic Games. The measurements were compared with those of the CAREBeijing-2006 campaign to evaluate the effectiveness of the air pollution control measures, which were conducted for improving the air quality in Beijing during the Olympics. The results indicate that significant reduction in the emissions of primary air pollutants had been achieved; the monthly averaged mixing ratios of NO<sub>x</sub>, NO<sub>y</sub>, CO, and NMHCs decreased by 42.2, 56.5, 27.8, and 49.7 %, respectively. In contrast to the primary pollutants, the averaged mixing ratio of O<sub>3</sub> increased by 42.2 %. Nevertheless, it was revealed that the ambient levels of total oxidant (O<sub>x</sub> = O<sub>3</sub>+NO<sub>2</sub>+1.5 NO<sub>z</sub>) and NO<sub>z</sub> were reduced by 21.3 and 77.4 %, respectively. The contradictions between O<sub>3</sub> and O<sub>x</sub> were further examined in two case studies. Ozone production rates of 30–70 ppbv h<sup>−1</sup> and OPEx of ~8 mole mole<sup>−1</sup> were observed on a clear-sky day in spite of the reduced levels of precursors. In that case, it was found that the mixing ratio of O<sub>3</sub> increased with the increasing NO<sub>2</sub>/NO ratio, whereas the NO<sub>z</sub> mixing ratio leveled off when NO<sub>2</sub>/NO>8. Consequently, the ratio of O<sub>3</sub> to NO<sub>z</sub> increased to above 10, indicating the shift from VOC-sensitive regime to NO<sub>x</sub>-sensitive regime. However, in the other case, it was found that the O<sub>3</sub> production was inhibited significantly due to substantial reduction in the NMHCs. According to the observations, it was suggested that the O<sub>3</sub> and/or O<sub>x</sub> production rates in Beijing should have been reduced as a result of the reduction in the emissions of precursors during the Olympic period. However, the nighttime O<sub>3</sub> levels increased due to a decline in the NO-O<sub>3</sub> titration, and the midday O<sub>3</sub> peak levels were elevated because of the shift in the photochemical regime and the inhibition of NO<sub>z</sub> formation.