An Integrated Study of AIR Pollution PROcesses in Beijing (AIRPRO)

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Environmental Sciences


Abstracts are not currently available in GtR for all funded research. This is normally because the abstract was not required at the time of proposal submission, but may be because it included sensitive information such as personal details.

Planned Impact

Air pollution is a high profile and fully globalised phenomena with a complex web of interested parties, influencers and decision-makers and academic researcher hold a key role as highly credible influencers. The public profile of air pollution is currently very high, both in China and the UK, and this provides opportunities for potential engagement with the public on the underlying science, and also potentially with a range of other organisations, for example NGOs, for which air pollution may be one of many environmental issues of interest. We identify that as a key influencer in the field, a key focus of efforts for impact should be through engagement with decision makers, accepting that there is rarely a direct route between a new science finding and an immediate change in public policy. The timescales are long, and the evidence typically accumulative, nonetheless the PIs have a track record of successful engagement in the UK and at a European level.

This pathway to impact plan relates specifically to the UK participants in the AIRPRO consortium and we are realistic about the extent to which UK universities can expect to engage with overseas decision-makers and directly influence Chinese Government policy. In this particular case our role as an influencer and by extension our route to impact must naturally must flow via our Chinese collaborators.

We identify three specific key impact areas for AIRPRO:

[1] Public understanding of the science and impacts of urban air pollution

[2] Supporting Chinese collaborators in their role as influencers of policy and practice in Beijing and China

[3] Translating AIRPRO science to megacities in a development context

[1] Many in the consortium are active in the public engagement arena, with media appearances, high profile science events as well as school visits and production of outreach materials. This work is ongoing and enduring and we identify that the most effective role for AIRPRO is to provide new basic materials for these existing bottom up and PI- led initiates. This will be a pooled effort, with the best in new visual aids, photographs, graphics, videos, images and model animations shared on the project website and via social media mechanisms.

[2] WP7 provides a ready-made route to impact via the development and improvement of models such as NAQPMS and NICAM-Chem used in China for air pollution prediction. These leading edge models are a central mechanism by which latest science understanding is translated to operational agencies and to decision makers on policy. WP7 can therefore be thought of as being a fundamental part of the pathway to impact for the project. We have assembled a large team of leading investigators to support its delivery and this should be viewed as a substantial investment in the pathway to impact. Our Chinese collaborators provide the next steps in delivery of impact through the application of these models in their research programmes and in their advice to Government. We will also work with our Chinese partners in their engagement with local ministries and agency, through the creation of effective science summaries for specialists and targeted presentations in China for policy-makers.

[3] Many of the underlying causes of air pollution in Beijing can be found in other developing cities, and much of the science and capability developed may have potential for translation to other locations. We will specifically target overseas development agencies such as DfID and key aid and policy organisations to highlight the state of the science and how this may be used to help countries identify the most effective areas for intervention. We identify some major impact opportunities that may be developed through raising awareness of practical public health improvements afforded by engagement with air pollution issues, and strong synergies with Newton Fund objectives.
Description We have made the first measurements of some specific gases in the atmosphere. These are isoprene nitrates. They are formed in the atmosphere through chemical reactions involving isoprene (a gas given off by vegetation) and nitrogen oxides emitted by combustion (e.g. car exhaust or by coal-fired power stations). There are different types of isoprene nitrates that are formed through different reactions and the measurements that we have made of these individual species is allowing us to improve understanding of this chemistry. We have been using a regional model of the chemistry of the air over China to help us interpret our measurements.
Exploitation Route They can be used to show uncertainties and errors in current understanding of the chemistry, which can lead to improvements in chemical schemes use in air quality and climate models. We have a paper currently being reviewed and the data have been requested by another group.
Sectors Environment

Description Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Gave a seminar at the University of Leeds to an audience of mostly postgraduate students and post-docs about the isoprene nitrate measurements made as part of the AIRPRO project using an instrument developed during the CASMI project.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018