Tracking Air Pollution in China: Near Real-Time PM2.5 Retrievals from Multiple Data Sources

Guannan Geng, Qingyang Xiao, Shigan Liu, Xiaodong Liu, Jing Cheng, Yixuan Zheng, Dan Tong, Bo Zheng, Yiran Peng, Xiaomeng Huang, Kebin He, Qiang Zhang

Air pollution has altered the Earth radiation balance, disturbed the ecosystem and increased human morbidity and mortality. Accordingly, a full-coverage high-resolution air pollutant dataset with timely updates and historical long-term records is essential to support both research and environmental management. Here, for the first time, we develop a near real-time air pollutant database known as Tracking Air Pollution in China (TAP, tapdata.org) that combines information from multiple data sources, including ground measurements, satellite retrievals, dynamically updated emission inventories, operational chemical transport model simulations and other ancillary data. Daily full-coverage PM2.5 data at a spatial resolution of 10 km is our first near real-time product. The TAP PM2.5 is estimated based on a two-stage machine learning model coupled with the synthetic minority oversampling technique and a tree-based gap-filling method. Our model has an averaged out-of-bag cross-validation R2 of 0.83 for different years, which is comparable to those of other studies, but improves its performance at high pollution levels and fills the gaps in missing AOD on daily scale. The full coverage and near real-time updates of the daily PM2.5 data allow us to track the day-to-day variations in PM2.5 concentrations over China in a timely manner. The long-term records of PM2.5 data since 2000 will also support policy assessments and health impact studies. The TAP PM2.5 data are publicly available through our website for sharing with the research and policy communities.

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