Please wait a minute...

Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2016, Vol. 10 Issue (5) : 11
Air quality improvement in Los Angeles—Perspectives for developing cities
David D. Parrish1,2(),Jin Xu3,Bart Croes3,Min Shao4
1. Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
2. NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, 325 Broadway R/CSD7, Boulder, CO 80305, USA
3. California Air Resources Board, 1001 I Street, P.O. Box 2815, Sacramento, CA 95814, USA
4. College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
Download: PDF(4930 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks

Air quality improvement in Los Angeles can inform air quality policies in developing cities.

Emission control efforts, their results, costs and health benefits are briefly summarized.

Today's developing cities face new challenges including regional pollution.

Air quality issues in Beijing are briefly compared and contrasted with Los Angeles.

Opportunities for co-benefits for climate and air quality improvement are identified.

Air quality improvement in Los Angeles, California is reviewed with an emphasis on aspects that may inform air quality policy formulation in developing cities. In the mid-twentieth century the air quality in Los Angeles was degraded to an extent comparable to the worst found in developing cities today; ozone exceeded 600 ppb and annual average particulate matter <10 mm reached ~150 mg·m−3. Today's air quality is much better due to very effective emission controls; e.g., modern automobiles emit about 1% of the hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emitted by vehicles of 50 years ago. An overview is given of the emission control efforts in Los Angeles and their impact on ambient concentrations of primary and secondary pollutants; the costs and health benefits of these controls are briefly summarized. Today's developing cities have new challenges that are discussed: the effects of regional pollution transport are much greater in countries with very high population densities; often very large current populations must be supplied with goods and services even while economic development and air quality concerns are addressed; and many of currently developing cities are located in or close to the tropics where photochemical processing of pollution is expected to be more rapid than at higher latitudes. The air quality issues of Beijing are briefly compared and contrasted with those of Los Angeles, and the opportunities for co-benefits for climate and air quality improvement are pointed out.

Keywords Air pollution      Ozone      Particulate matter      Control technology     
This article is part of themed collection: Understanding the processes of air pollution formation (Responsible Editors: Min SHAO, Shuxiao WANG & Armistead G. RUSSELL)
Corresponding Author(s): David D. Parrish   
Issue Date: 07 July 2016
 Cite this article:   
David D. Parrish,Jin Xu,Bart Croes, et al. Air quality improvement in Los Angeles—Perspectives for developing cities[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(5): 11.
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
Articles by authors
David D. Parrish
Jin Xu
Bart Croes
Min Shao
Fig.1  History of measured ambient ozone and PM2.5 concentrations in the SoCAB. The statistics shown (annual maximum 1-h and 8-h average ozone concentrations and 98th percentile of 24-h average PM2.5 concentrations) provide the basis of the NAAQS. The dashed lines show the recently announced NAAQS for ozone (blue line at 70 ppb) and the current NAAQS for PM2.5 (orange line at 35 mg·m–3).
Fig.2  Evolution of ozone concentrations over the past 35 years in the SoCAB. The data points give the indicated percentiles of the maximum daily 8-h average ozone recorded at any monitor within the basin on each day of the May–September ozone season. The curves are least-squares fits of Eq. (1) to the respective data. b) Graphic interpretation of the parameters of Eq. (1) for the 90th percentile data. Figure adapted from [7].
Fig.3  Typical mixing ratios estimated from published data from various field campaigns conducted near downtown Los Angeles together with linear fits to the logarithm of the data (left axis). The solid red line indicates a 7.5% yr1 decrease. Figure reproduced from [10].
Fig.4  Long-term trends of ambient concentrations of primary (NOx, VOCs and CO) and secondary (O3 and PAN) pollutants in the SoCAB. The respective lines are linear least-squares fits to log-transformed data; these lines therefore define exponential decreases of the concentrations. The data are normalized so that the linear fits intersect 100 in the year 1960. Ozone data are the anthropogenic enhancements of the 90th percentile from Fig. 2. Other data are average concentrations for summertime weekdays. For clarity, only the solid red line from Fig. 3 is shown for the VOC and CO data. Analyses and data for PAN and NOx are from [8].
Fig.5  Long-term trends of ambient concentrations of primary pollutants (SO2, VOCs and NOx) and PM2.5 in the SoCAB in the same format as Fig. 4. Here the data are normalized so that the linear fits intersect 100 in the year 1980. The PM2.5 data are those from Fig. 1. The SO2 data are annual average concentrations from the North Long Beach monitoring station, where the largest SO2 concentrations in the SoCAB are measured. The trend derived for this one station (6.1±1.2% yr1) for 1980-2010 is consistent with the trend of the federal design value for the entire SoCAB (6.2±0.5% yr1) for the entire 1963-2011 period.
Fig.6  Annual average afternoon surface NO2 mixing ratios for the year 2005 binned at 0.25° × 0.25° from OMI over eastern China and western North America. Panels are on the same latitude scale. Contours represent population density data gridded at 0.25° × 0.25° resolution with 100 persons·km2 (pink) and 500 persons·km2 (black). Figure adapted from [19].
Fig.7  Evolution of tropospheric NO2 column over 19 years above central east China derived from several satellite measurements. Figure courtesy of A. Richter, A. Hilboll, and J. P. Burrows of University of Bremen.
1 World Health Organization. Burden of disease from Ambient Air Pollution for 2012, , 2014
2 Helfand W H, Lazarus J, Theerman P. Donora, Pennsylvania: an environmental disaster of the 20th century. American Journal of Public Health, 2001, 91(4): 553 pmid: 11291362
3 Bell M L, Davis D L. Reassessment of the lethal London fog of 1952: novel indicators of acute and chronic consequences of acute exposure to air pollution. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2001, 109(3 Suppl 3): 389–394 pmid: 11427388
4 SCAQMD. Historic Ozone Air Quality Trends, , 2015
5 California Air Resources Board. Ozone Trends Summary: South Coast Air Basin (), 2015
6 Cooper O R, Langford A O, Parrish D D, Fahey D W. Atmosphere. Challenges of a lowered U.S. ozone standard. Science, 2015, 348(6239): 1096–1097 pmid: 26045425
7 Parrish D D, Newman M H, Aikin K C, Ryerson T B. Temporal evolution of baseline ozone and anthropogenic enhancements in California's coastal air basins. Environmental Science & Technology, 2016, (submitted)
8 Pollack I B, Ryerson T B, Trainer M, Neuman J A, Roberts J M, Parrish D D. Trends in ozone, its precursors, and related secondary oxidation products in Los Angeles, California: a synthesis of measurements from 1960 to 2010. Journal of Geophysical Research, D, Atmospheres, 2013, 118(11): 5893–5911
9 Pfister G G, Parrish D, Worden H, Emmons L K, Edwards D P, Wiedinmyer C, Diskin G S, Huey G, Oltmans S J, Thouret V, Weinheimer A, Wisthaler A. Characterizing summertime chemical boundary conditions for airmasses entering the US West Coast. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2011, 11(4): 1769–1790
10 Warneke C, de Gouw J A, Holloway J S, Peischl J, Ryerson T B, Atlas E, Blake D, Trainer M, Parrish D D. Multi-year trends in volatile organic compounds in Los Angeles, California: five decades of improving air quality. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012, 117: (D00V17), doi: 10.1029/2012JD017899
11 National Research Council. Energy Futures and Urban Air Pollution: Challenges for China and the United States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, , 2007
12 Hoggan M.SoCAB Report: Air Quality Trends in California's South Coast Air Basin1965–1981, 1982
13 Ying Q, Kleeman M J. Source contributions to the regional distribution of secondary particulate matter in California. Atmospheric Environment, 2006, 40(4): 736–752
14 SCAQMD. History of Air Pollution Control in Southern California, , 1997
15 California Air Resources Board. 2014 Enforcement Report (), 2015
16 Hall J V, BrajerV, Lurmann F W. The Benefits of Meeting Federal Clean Air Standards in the South Coast and San Joaquin Air Basins. Institute for Economic and Environmental Studies at California State University Fullerton. , 2008
17 Hall J V, Brajer V, Lurmann F W. Air pollution, health and economic benefits—Lessons from 20 years of analysis. Ecological Economics, 2010, 69(12): 2590–2597
18 Parrish D D, Stockwell W R. Urbanization and air pollution: then and now, Eos: Earth & Space. Science News, 2015, 96: 10–15
19 Lamsal L N, Martin R V, Parrish D D, Krotkov N A. Scaling relationship for NO2 pollution and urban population size: a satellite perspective. Environmental Science & Technology, 2013, 47(14): 7855–7861 pmid: 23763377
20 Guinnup D, Collom B. 1997. Telling the OTAG ozone story with data. . (<Date>Last accessed: 02/16/16</Date>)
21 Parrish D D, Zhu T. Clean air for megacities. Science, 2009, 326(5953): 674–675 pmid: 19900921
22 Gwilliam K, Kojima M, Johnson T. Reducing Air Pollution from Urban Transport, The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 2004
23 Sathaye N, Harley R A, Madanat S. Unintended environmental impacts of nighttime freight logistics activities. Transportation Research Part A, Policy and Practice, 2010, 44(8): 642–659
24 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/352), 2014
25 International Monetary Fund. World Economic Outlook: Adjusting to Lower Commodity Prices. Washington (April and October) 2015
26 Fry M M, Naik V, West J J, Schwarzkopf M D, Fiore A M, Collins W J, Dentener F J, Shindell D T, Atherton C, Bergmann D, Duncan B N, Hess P, MacKenzie I A, Marmer E, Schultz M G, Szopa S, Wild O, Zeng G. The influence of ozone precursor emissions from four world regions on tropospheric composition and radiative climate forcing. Journal of Geophysical Research, 2012, 117(D7): D07306
27 Duncan B N, Lamsal L N, Thompson A M, Yoshida Y, Lu Z, Streets D G, Hurwitz M M, Pickering K E. A space-based, high-resolution view of notable changes in urban NOx pollution around the world (2005–2014). Journal of Geophysical Research, D, Atmospheres, 2016, 121, doi: 10.1002/2015JD024121
28 Wang T, Ding A J, Gao J, Wu W S. Strong ozone production in urban plumes from Beijing, China. Geophysical Research Letters, 2006, 33(21): L21806
29 Zheng G J, Duan F K, Su H, Ma Y L, Cheng Y, Zheng B, Zhang Q, Huang T, Kimoto T, Chang D, Pöschl U, Cheng Y F, He K B. Exploring the severe winter haze in Beijing: the impact of synoptic weather, regional transport and heterogeneous reactions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2015, 15(6): 2969–2983
30 Shao M, Tang X Y, Zhang Y H, Li W J. Air and surface water pollution of city clusters in China: current situation and challenges. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 2006, 7(4): 353–361[0353:CCICAA]2.0.CO;2
31 Zhang Q, Yuan B, Shao M, Wang X, Lu S, Lu K, Wang M, Chen L, Chang C C, Liu S C. Variations of ground-level O3 and its precursors in Beijing in summertime between 2005 and 2011. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2014, 14(12): 6089–6101
32 Wang S, Zhao M, Xing J, Wu Y, Zhou Y, Lei Y, He K, Fu L, Hao J. Quantifying the air pollutants emission reduction during the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. Environmental Science & Technology, 2010, 44(7): 2490–2496 pmid: 20222727
33 Wang W, Primbs T, Tao S, Simonich S L M. Atmospheric particulate matter pollution during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Environmental Science & Technology, 2009, 43(14): 5314–5320 pmid: 19708359
34 Wang Y, Hao J, McElroy M B, Munger J W, Ma H, Chen D, Nielsen C P. Ozone air quality during the 2008 Beijing Olympics: effectiveness of emission restrictions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2009, 9(14): 5237–5251
35 Shen J, Tang A, Liu X, Kopsch J, Fangmeier A, Goulding K, Zhang F. Impacts of pollution controls on air quality in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. Journal of Environmental Quality, 2011, 40(1): 37–45 pmid: 21488491
36 Rich D Q, Kipen H M, Huang W, Wang G, Wang Y, Zhu P, Ohman-Strickland P, Hu M, Philipp C, Diehl S R, Lu S E, Tong J, Gong J, Thomas D, Zhu T, Zhang J J. Association between changes in air pollution levels during the Beijing Olympics and biomarkers of inflammation and thrombosis in healthy young adults. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2012, 307(19): 2068–2078 pmid: 22665106
37 Wang T, Nie W, Gao J, Xue L K, Gao X M, Wang X, Qiu J, Poon C N, Meinardi S, Blake D, Wang S L, Ding A J, Chai F H, Zhang Q Z, Wang W X. Air quality during the 2008 Beijing Olympics: secondary pollutants and regional impact. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 2010, 10(16): 7603–7615
38 Brauch H G, Spring U O, Mesjasz C, Grin J, Kameri-Mbote P, Chourou B, Dunay P, Birkmann J, eds. Coping with global environmental change, disasters and security: threats, challenges, vulnerabilities and risks. Vol 5. Berlin: Springer Science & Business Media, 2011
39 Zhu T, Melamed M, Parrish D D, Gauss M. Gallardo Klenner L. Lawrence M. Konare A. Liousse C. GAW Report No. 205. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization Global Atmosphere Watch, 2012
Related articles from Frontiers Journals
[1] Jiangbo Jin, Yun Zhu, Jicheng Jang, Shuxiao Wang, Jia Xing, Pen-Chi Chiang, Shaojia Fan, Shicheng Long. Enhancement of the polynomial functions response surface model for real-time analyzing ozone sensitivity[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2021, 15(2): 31-.
[2] Kun Zhang, Jialuo Xu, Qing Huang, Lei Zhou, Qingyan Fu, Yusen Duan, Guangli Xiu. Precursors and potential sources of ground-level ozone in suburban Shanghai[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(6): 92-.
[3] Yulu Qiu, Zhiqiang Ma, Weili Lin, Weijun Quan, Weiwei Pu, Yingruo Li, Liyan Zhou, Qingfeng Shi. A study of peroxyacetyl nitrate at a rural site in Beijing based on continuous observations from 2015 to 2019 and the WRF-Chem model[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(4): 71-.
[4] Xuying Ma, Ian Longley, Jennifer Salmond, Jay Gao. PyLUR: Efficient software for land use regression modeling the spatial distribution of air pollutants using GDAL/OGR library in Python[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2020, 14(3): 44-.
[5] Chao Liu, Hancheng Dai, Lin Zhang, Changchun Feng. The impacts of economic restructuring and technology upgrade on air quality and human health in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in China[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(5): 70-.
[6] Zunaira Asif, Zhi Chen. An integrated optimization and simulation approach for air pollution control under uncertainty in open-pit metal mine[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(5): 74-.
[7] Siyu Chen, Lee Blaney, Ping Chen, Shanshan Deng, Mamatha Hopanna, Yixiang Bao, Gang Yu. Ozonation of the 5-fluorouracil anticancer drug and its prodrug capecitabine: Reaction kinetics, oxidation mechanisms, and residual toxicity[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(4): 59-.
[8] Xuehao Zhao, Yinhu Wu, Xue Zhang, Xin Tong, Tong Yu, Yunhong Wang, Nozomu Ikuno, Kazuki Ishii, Hongying Hu. Ozonation as an efficient pretreatment method to alleviate reverse osmosis membrane fouling caused by complexes of humic acid and calcium ion[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(4): 55-.
[9] Xiaohui Song, Chunlai Jiang, Yu Lei, Yuezhi Zhong, Yanchao Wang. Permitted emissions of major air pollutants from coal-fired power plants in China based on best available control technology[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(5): 11-.
[10] In-Sun Kang, Jinying Xi, Hong-Ying Hu. Photolysis and photooxidation of typical gaseous VOCs by UV Irradiation: Removal performance and mechanisms[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(3): 8-.
[11] Mengqian Lu, Bin-Le Lin, Kazuya Inoue, Zhongfang Lei, Zhenya Zhang, Kiyotaka Tsunemi. PM2.5-related health impacts of utilizing ammonia-hydrogen energy in Kanto Region, Japan[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(2): 13-.
[12] Yifei Song, Lei Sun, Xinfeng Wang, Yating Zhang, Hui Wang, Rui Li, Likun Xue, Jianmin Chen, Wenxing Wang. Pollution characteristics of particulate matters emitted from outdoor barbecue cooking in urban Jinan in eastern China[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2018, 12(2): 14-.
[13] Fariba Mahmoudkhani, Maryam Rezaei, Vahid Asili, Mahsasadat Atyabi, Elena Vaisman, Cooper H. Langford, Alex De Visscher. Benzene degradation in waste gas by photolysis and photolysis-ozonation: experiments and modeling[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(6): 10-.
[14] Lyumeng Ye,Xuemei Wang,Shaofeng Fan,Weihua Chen,Ming Chang,Shengzhen Zhou,Zhiyong Wu,Qi Fan. Photochemical indicators of ozone sensitivity: application in the Pearl River Delta, China[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(6): 15-.
[15] Christian GEORGE, Anne BEELDENS, Fotios BARMPAS, Jean-François DOUSSIN, Giuseppe MANGANELLI, Hartmut HERRMANN, Jörg KLEFFMANN, Abdelwahid MELLOUKI. Impact of photocatalytic remediation of pollutants on urban air quality[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2016, 10(5): 2-.
Full text