PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (10): 1650-1663.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.10.004

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Spatiotemporal pattern and population exposure risks of air pollution in Chinese urban areas

XIAO Jiayu1(), HE Chao1, MU Hang1, YANG Lu1, HUANG Jiayi2, XIN Aixuan1, TU Peiyue3, HONG Song1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Geographic Information System, Ministry of Education, School of Resources and Environmental Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430079, China
    2. School of Busniss, University of Sydney, Sydney NSW 2006, Australia
    3. Faculty of Resources and Environmental Science, Hubei University, Wuhan 430062, China
  • Received:2020-10-05 Revised:2021-05-14 Online:2021-10-28 Published:2021-12-28
  • Contact: HONG Song;
  • Supported by:
    Shenzhen Science and Technology Project(JCYJ20150630153917252)


In recent years, the spatiotemporal distribution and its hazards to republic health of air pollution in China have shown new characteristics. Using hourly air quality monitoring data for five years (2015-2019) in 332 Chinese cities, this study analyzed the spatiotemporal distribution characteristics of air quality and urban population exposure risks by different methods. The results suggest that: 1) Air quality in Chinese urban areas has improved in recent years. Ambient Air Quality Index (AQI) decreased in 303 cities (91.3%). The concentrations of PM2.5, PM10, SO2, and CO declined while the concentrations of NO2 and O3 increased. 2) The hotspots of PM2.5, PM10, SO2, and CO concentration change rates were distributed in Xinjiang and Yunnan-South China. The hotspots of NO2 concentration change rate were in the Xinjiang area and the Hetao Plain. The hotspots of O3 concentration change rate were from the North China Plain to the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. The trends of air quality change in the Northwest and South China were relatively slow. 3) Nine cities were exposed to PM2.5, PM10, SO2, NO2, O3, and CO pollution, which were located in Shanxi, Hebei, and Shandong provinces; 12 cities had no exposure risks to these six pollutants, which were distributed in Xinjiang, Yunnan, Guizhou, Sichuan, Guangdong, Fujian, and Heilongjiang provinces. These conclusions are of important reference value for collaborative treatment of cross-regional air pollution and formulating spatially diffenrentiated population flow management policies in China.

Key words: cities, air pollution, hotspot analysis, exposure risks, China