Assessing Beijing's PM2.5 pollution: severity, weather impact, APEC and winter heating

Xuan Liang, Tao Zou, Bin Guo, Shuo Li, Haozhe Zhang, Shuyi Zhang, Hui Huang, Song Xi Chen

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284 Citations (Scopus)


By learning the PM2.5 readings and meteorological records from 2010-2015, the severity of PM2.5 pollution in Beijing is quantified with a set of statistical measures. As PM2.5 concentration is highly influenced by meteorological conditions, we propose a statistical approach to adjust PM2.5 concentration with respect to meteorological conditions, which can be used to monitor PM2.5 pollution in a location. The adjusted monthly averages and percentiles are employed to test if the PM2.5 levels in Beijing have been lowered since China's State Council set up a pollution reduction target. The results of the testing reveal significant increases, rather than decreases, in the PM2.5 concentrations in the years 2013 and 2014 as compared with those in year 2012. We conduct analyses on two quasi-experiments-the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in November 2014 and the annual winter heating-to gain insight into the impacts of emissions on PM2.5. The analyses lead to a conclusion that a fundamental shift from mainly coal-based energy consumption to much greener alternatives in Beijing and the surrounding North China Plain is the key to solving the PM2.5 problem in Beijing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20150257
Number of pages20
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2182
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Air quality
  • Meteorological condition
  • Observational study
  • Quasi-experiment

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