A kriging-calibrated machine learning method for estimating daily ground-level NO2 in mainland China

Zhao Yue Chen, Rong Zhang, Tian Hao Zhang, Chun Quan Ou, Yuming Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


It is unclear how to develop a model based on the combined satellite data and ground monitoring data to accurately estimate daily NO2 levels. Furthermore, the conventional cross-validation (CV) results represent average levels but the model performance may vary greatly from grid to grid. It is an essential issue to evaluate model's prediction ability in different grids and determine the factors affecting model extrapolating ability, which have never been well examined to date. The aim of this study was to compare the ability of three different methods to estimate the daily NO2 across mainland China during 2014–2016; and to develop a novel two-stage meta-analysis method for exploring the influence of the number and the distribution of nearby sites on grid-level prediction accuracy. For better estimating the daily NO2 level, we developed and compared three methods, including universal kriging model, satellite-based method (Non-linear exposure-lag-response model & Extreme gradient boosting combined technique) and the kriging-calibrated satellite method. For exploring influencing factors, the two-stage meta-analysis method was purposed. The kriging-calibrated satellite method had an overall CV R-square and root mean square error (RMSE) of 0.85 and 7.87μg/m3, better than the Universal Kriging model and the satellite-based method (CV R2 = 0.57 and 0.81). The two-stage meta-analysis method revealed that the model performance did decrease with the sparser distribution of nearby sites. And adding 5 sites within 50 km in the random mode can bring 17.51% improvement in model extrapolating ability. The kriging-calibration can help satellite-based machine learning to provide more accurate NO2 prediction. Our novel evaluation method can provide the suggestion of adding new sites effectively within a limit budget.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-564
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2019


  • China
  • Extrapolating ability
  • Extreme gradient boosting
  • Kriging-calibration
  • Meta-analysis
  • NO

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