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Quantity the Effect of ERPs on Dust Pollutions in NCP
author: source: Time:2018-06-15 font< big medium small >

The recent paper, in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, has quantified the effect of ecological restoration programs (ERPs) on dust pollution in the NCP.

To improve the environmental conditions, and to reduce ecological problems, the Chinese government has made a great effort in initiating large-scale ERPs. As a result, the “Green Great Wall (GGW)” of China has been established in northern China. Meanwhile, the dust storm frequency in northern China generally shows a decreasing trend. However, there is an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of national ERPs. Numerous experts and government officials have attributed the decrease trend to the success of ERPs in controlling dust storms and combated desertification. Conversely, several experts have doubted the ERPs’ effectiveness, generally asserting climate factors to be the main cause for the observed decrease of dust storms. Previous studies did not quantify the effectiveness of ERPs on dust concentrations. Here our narrative is independently based on satellite measurements and WRF-DUST model simulation during a strong dust storm episode from 2 to 8 March 2016.

We found two obvious vegetation protective barriers arise throughout China from the southwest to the northeast, which are well known as the GGW. Both the grass GGW and forest GGW are located between the dust source region (DSR) and the densely populated NCP. The ERP-induced GGWs help to reduce the dust concentration in the NCP, especially in BTH. When the dust storm is transported from the upwind DSR to the downwind NCP, the [PMC] reduction ranges from 5 to 15 % in the NCP. We find the dust plumes move up to the upper atmosphere and are transported from the upwind DSR to the downwind NCP, accompanied by dust decrease. It is worth noting that the forest GGW is nonsignificant in dust concentration control because it is of benefit for dry deposition and not for emission. Conversely, the grass GGW is beneficial in controlling dust erosion and is the dominant reason for [PMC] decrease in the NCP.

Fig.1 The schematic diagram of the “Green Great Wall (GGW)” established by the ERPs in China from 2001 to 2013. The up panels are the land cover changes of (a) grasslands/savannas (b) forest. The down panel is (c) the horizontal distribution of GGWs, population density, Gobi and deserts. (Image by Long, et al)

Fig.2 Panels (a, c, e, g) show the vertical profiles of daily [PMC] and winds along the cross section for the REF case. Panels (b, d, f, h) show the vertical profiles of daily [PMC] change between the REF case and the SEN-ERPs case (REF – SEN- ERPs). (Image by Long, et al)

Contact: BAI Jie, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi'an, China. Email:baijie@ieecas.cn

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