Headline: Spatio-temporal characteristics of air pollutants over Xinjiang, northwestern China

To understand the characteristics of particulate matter (PM) and other air pollutants in Xinjiang, a region with one of the largest sand-shifting deserts in the world and significant natural dust emissions, the concentrations of six air pollutants monitored in 16 cities were analyzed for the period January 2013–June 2019. The annual mean PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NO2, CO, and O3 concentrations ranged from 51.44 to 59.54 μg m−3, 128.43–155.28 μg m−3, 10.99–17.99 μg m−3, 26.27–31.71 μg m−3, 1.04–1.32 mg m−3, and 55.27–65.26 μg m−3, respectively. The highest PM concentrations were recorded in cities surrounding the Taklimakan Desert during the spring season and caused by higher amounts of wind-blown dust from the desert. Coarse PM (PM10-2.5) was predominant, particularly during the spring and summer seasons. The highest PM2.5/PM10 ratio was recorded in most cities during the winter months, indicating the influence of anthropogenic emissions in winters. The annual mean PM2.5 (PM10) concentrations in the study area exceeded the annual mean guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) by a factor of ca. ∼5–6 (∼7–8). Very high ambient PM concentrations were recorded during March 19–22, 2019, that gradually influenced the air quality across four different cities, with daily mean PM2.5 (PM10) concentrations ∼8–54 (∼26–115) times higher than the WHO guidelines for daily mean concentrations, and the daily mean coarse PM concentration reaching 4.4 mg m−3. Such high PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations pose a significant risk to public health. These findings call for the formulation of various policies and action plans, including controlling the land degradation and desertification and reducing the concentrations of PM and other air pollutants in the region.

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Academic Articles

Rupakheti, D., Yin, X., Rupakheti, M., Zhang, Q., Li, P., Rai, M., & Kang, S. (2021). Spatio-temporal characteristics of air pollutants over Xinjiang, northwestern China. Environmental Pollution, 268, Part A: 115907. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115907.

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A Sustainable Atmosphere for the Kathmandu Valley (SusKat)