Project descriptions

Projects and associated work packages (WP):

  1. Sources and emissions of air pollutants in Beijing (AIRPOLL-Beijing)
  2. An integrated study of air pollution processes in Beijing (AIRPRO)
  3. Air pollution impacts on cardiopulmonary disease in Beijing: An integrated study of exposure science, toxicogenomics and environmental epidemiology (APIC-ESTEE)
  4. Effects of air pollution on cardiopulmonary disease in urban and peri-urban residents in Beijing (AIRLESS)
  5. Integrated assessment of the emission-health-socioeconomics nexus and air pollution mitigation solutions and interventions in Beijing (INHANCE)


Sources and emissions of air pollutant in Beijing (AIRPOLL-Beijing)

UK principal investigator: Professor Roy Harrison, University of Birmingham
Chinese principal investigator: Professor Kebin He, Tsinghua University

WP1: Three Dimensional Spatial Analyses

WP1 will provide a 3D air pollutant field over representative regions of Beijing. Spatially resolved measurements will be made using recently developed readily deployable low cost measurement nodes, measuring gas phase species (NO, NO2, O3, CO, SO2, total VOCs, CO2), size revolved particles (0.4-20 um) and meteorological parameters (2D wind, T, RH).

WP2: Receptor Modelling Studies

This work package will identify and apportion the sources of air pollutants through a wide range of chemical composition measurements. Receptor modeling is a highly powerful and commonly-used approach to source apportionment, whereby the contributions of various sources to pollutants measured in situ are quantitatively estimated based on the measurement data alone, rather than invoking knowledge of the source strengths.

WP3: Emission Quantification

In this WP, we aim to provide a high resolution emission inventory of air pollutants in Beijing. We will enhance the existing inventories for Beijing and the surrounding region by improving the underlying activity and emission factor database and its spatial resolution.

WP4: Top-Down Fluxes Inferred from Satellite Data

This WP aims to quantify the flux of NO2, SO2 and HCHO in Beijing and surrounding areas.

WP5: Chemistry-Transport Modelling

This WP will provide a year-long source apportionment of air pollutants in Beijing and surrounding areas using a chemistry transport model and a hybrid receptor and CTM model.

WP6: Synthesis and Integration

An essential part of this research project will be to synthesis and integrate the results from the different components, with the broad aims of greatly increasing the reliability of the emissions inventory, providing a clearer distinction between advected regional pollution and the impact of local sources, and quantifying the role of secondary pollutant formation/chemical destruction in influencing the air pollution climate of Beijing.


An integrated study of air pollution processes in Beijing (AIRPRO)

UK principal investigator: Professor Alistair Lewis, University of York, and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science
Chinese principal investigator: Professor Pingqing Fu, Institute of Atmospheric Physics (CAS)

WP1: Oxidation chemistry

 Identify the dominant oxidative degradation pathways in Beijing via hydroxyl (OH) and nitrate (NO 3) radicals and O3 reactions, and test these against explicit chemical mechanisms (the Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM)). Assessment of detailed gas and aerosol composition, and integrated chemical properties such as OH lifetime and ozone production efficiency, will help quantify rates of photochemical smog formation, disaggregate transport from processing of local emissions, and provide a reference for all model simulations with a range of scheme complexities.

WP2: Nitrogen budgets

Establish the total reactive nitrogen source and sink budget for Beijing, the role of nitrogen reservoir species in determining local and regional ozone concentrations and in controlling gas­to­particle transfer to aerosols. This will include an evaluation of the combined impact of anthropogenic (including agricultural) and biogenic (vegetation) emissions on the nitrogen budget via organic nitrate formation.

WP3: Aerosol Physical and Optical Properties

Develop a detailed description of physical and optical properties, pollution loadings and the influence of humidity tailored to the high haze environment of Beijing, and assess the impacts of aerosols on photochemical processes. The developments would be informed and evaluated via comparison with observations of optical and physical properties, including water uptake, using measurements made under a range of atmospheric conditions.

WP4: Secondary aerosols

Establish experimentally the contributions of secondary aerosols to haze abundance in Beijing and the rates of production from precursors such as SO2, NH4 and organic compounds. This objective will combine detailed gas phase observations of condensable gases from WP1 and 2 (both organic and inorganic) with measurement of their partitioning into PM, and abundance in PM via a range of experiment measurement techniques, both on and off­line.

WP5: Urban meteorology

Quantify the influence of tall buildings in Beijing on dispersion, flow, thermal mixing and urban surface­atmosphere exchanges, for the urban canopy layer (micro scale), above the roughness sub­layer (neighborhood scale) and the urban boundary layer (city scale). This will be achieved through a combination of field measurements, wind tunnel experiments and numerical modelling.

WP6: Feedbacks between haze, photochemistry and dynamics

Develop strategies to use the observational data from WP3 to study the links and feedbacks between the pollution particulate loading and the photochemical and dynamical processes that lead to the most severe build­up of pollution in inversion events, integrating fundamental understanding with local factors unique to Beijing.

WP7: Integration via multi­scale modelling

Exploit regional and urban­scale models to enhance process understanding using results from the WPs above. This will enable a seamless scale up of new understanding from detailed process models, via reduced chemistry schemes, to regional models, and permit simulation of regional to urban chemistry­aerosol­meteorology­ haze interactions. The insights gained from comparison with observations will be used to guide model enhancements for improved model simulations at street level, a necessity for exposure studies. 


Air pollution impacts on cardiopulmonary disease in Beijing: An integrated study of exposure science, toxicogenomics & environmental epidemiology (APIC-ESTEE)

UK principal investigator: Dr Miranda Loh, Institute of Occupational Medicine
Chinese principal investigator: Professor Zhiwei Sun, Capital Medical University

WP1: Exposure monitoring

This WP focuses on air pollution sampling at fixed monitoring stations and sampling of personal exposure. Fixed site monitoring: Monitoring data for PM2.5, NO2, and O3 will be obtained from fixed sites operated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The physicochemical properties of the PM samples will be analysed, and used in source apportionment.

WP2: Exposure modelling

This work package focuses on analysis of the data collected in WP1 and modelling air pollution concentrations across our Beijing study area. The efforts of this WP will link with work being done by projects in Themes 1 and 2, which will evaluate the emission sources and atmospheric processes which affect the dispersion and transformation of emissions across the city.

WP3: Human panel study 1: biological effects of exposure

WP3 will entail the compilation of exposure and response data, including biochemical analyses of blood and urine specimens and their analysis with respect to within-person and between-person variations.

WP4: Human Panel Study 2: ‘Intervention’ study

We will examine whether reducing particle exposure via facemask wearing has a significant effect on reducing or reversing the effects of air pollution as observed in the panel study (WP3).

WP5: Cohort study of long-term exposure

This WP will entail an analysis of the BHTCS, a cohort of 8000 Beijing residents, free of CVD and aged 40 to 74 years at recruitment in 2012. Demographic data, family and personal medical history, smoking status, levels of blood pressure, fasting glucose, lipids, and other CVD associated information have been collected and blood samples stored in a biobank.

WP6: Cardiovascular and pulmonary toxicity and mechanistic study

The objective of this WP is to investigate the relationships between PM2.5 and cardiopulmonary diseases using animal models to explore thrombogenesis formation, atherosclerosis, pulmonary fibrosis, and roles of oxidative stress, inflammation, endothelial injury as well as EMT/MET in cardiopulmonary disease. 

WP7: Early life effects

Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital (BOGH), affiliated to the Capital Medical University has established the early life exposure birth cohort, and 460 samples have been collected until March 1, 2015.

WP8: Exposure control strategies

While pollution control is the best way to safeguard public health from the adverse effects of high air pollution, it is unrealistic to assume that the major improvements will be in place in a short timescale. In that context, it is important to understand what individuals, especially patients, can do to limit exposures. 


Effects of air pollution on cardiopulmonary disease in urban & peri-urban residents in Beijing (AIRLESS)

UK principal investigator: Professor Frank Kelly, King's College London
Chinese principal investigator: Professor Tong Zhu, Peking University

WP1: Recruitment and Questionnaires

Establish two panels comprising of 120 individuals each from the PRC-USA and INTERMAP cohorts. By home interview we will re-enrol 120 participants of the PRC-USA Study who live in urban Beijing and 120 participants of the China INTERMAP Study who reside in outer Beijing  in the Pinggu region

WP2: Personal Air Monitor measurement

Use personal air pollution monitors to assess panel participants to exposure to key health related pollutants

WP3: Assessment of cardiopulmonary function

Assess cardiopulmonary function in PRC-USA and INTERMAP panels

WP4: Linkage with other themes

Although a novel feature of this application is the collection of individualised air pollution exposure data on all panel members the project is strengthened further through the planned use of the rich set of pollution metrics that will be collected by the chosen projects under Themes I and II.

WP5: Assessment of the association between air pollution exposure and key cardiopulmonary measures

Our aim in WP5 is to examine the relationship between exposure to air pollutants collected in WP2 (personal monitoring and data obtained from Theme I) and cardiopulmonary symptoms and events, focusing on seasonal changes and urban versus peri-urban airsheds.


Integrated assessment of the emission-health-socioeconomics nexus and air pollution mitigation solutions and interventions in Beijing (INHANCE)

UK principal investigator: Professor Dabo Guan, University of East Anglia
Chinese principal investigator: Professor Shu Tao, Peking University

WP1: Project Management and Communication

To ensure the overall objectives are met in an interdisciplinary environment, we will have an Executive Committee consisting of the two co-PIs, two project coordinators, 6 ‘Champions’ and 2-3 key policy stakeholders. The 3 champion pairs, with relevant research expertise from INHANCE, will map to each programme theme for co-production of knowledge and efficient integration among the entire consortium

WP2: Quantitative performance assessment of China’s current air pollution policies

This WP will score the effectiveness of current anti-air pollution measures in China. The scorecards will help the whole consortium better understand the strengths and weaknesses of different measures and identify cost-effective measures in current anti-air pollution policies.

WP3: Nexus among energy-emission-health (physical and mental)-socioeconomic impact

Quantify these interactive among vulnerability, health, implication for industry and economic consequences.

WP4: Integrated policy design and assessment for policy cost-effectiveness

INHANCE is an integrator for the projects funded in other themes to deliver an evidence based, fully coordinated and practically feasible solution for China’s urban air pollution mitigation.