Significant Impact of Reactive Chlorine on Complex Air Pollution Over the Yangtze River Delta Region, China

Xin Yi, Golam Sarwar, Jinting Bian, Ling Huang, Qinyi Li, Sen Jiang, Hanqing Liu, Yangjun Wang, Hui Chen, Tao Wang, Jianmin Chen, Alfonso Saiz-Lopez, David C. Wong, Li Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The chlorine radical (Cl) plays a crucial role in the formation of secondary air pollutants by determining the total atmospheric oxidative capacity (AOC). However, there are still large discrepancies among studies on chlorine chemistry, mainly due to uncertainties from three aspects: (a) Anthropogenic emissions of reactive chlorine species from disinfectant usage are typically overlooked. (b) The heterogeneous reaction uptake coefficients used in air quality models resulted in certain differences. (c) The co-effect of anthropogenic and natural emissions is rarely investigated. In this study, the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF)-Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) modeling system (updated with 21 new reactions and a comprehensive emissions inventory) was used to simulate the combined impact of chlorine emissions on the air quality of a coastal city cluster in the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region. The results indicate that the new emissions of reactive chlorine and the updated gas-phase and heterogeneous chlorine chemistry can significantly enhance the AOC by 21.3%, 8.7%, 43.3%, and 58.7% in spring, summer, autumn, and winter, respectively. This is more evident in inland areas with high Cl concentrations. Our updates to the chlorine chemistry also increases the monthly mean maximum daily 8-hr average (MDA 8) O3 mixing ratio by 4.1–7.0 ppbv in different seasons. Additionally, chlorine chemistry promotes the formation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), with maximum monthly average enhancements of 4.7–13.3 μg/m3 in different seasons. This study underlines the significance of adding full chlorine emissions and updating chlorine chemistry in air quality models, and demonstrates that chlorine chemistry may significantly impact air quality over coastal regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2023JD038898
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2023


  • air quality
  • atmospheric oxidation capacity
  • chlorine chemistry
  • O
  • PM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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