Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2017, Vol. 72 ›› Issue (11): 2079-2092.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201711012

• Surface Process and Ecological Environment • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal evolution and the influencing factors of PM2.5 in China between 2000 and 2011

Liang ZHOU1,2(), Chenghu ZHOU1, Fan YANG3, Bo WANG4, Dongqi SUN1()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. Facutly of Geomatics, Lanzhou Jiaotong University, Lanzhou 730070, China
    3. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
    4. Department of Geography, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
  • Received:2016-10-08 Revised:2017-07-28 Online:2017-11-20 Published:2017-11-16
  • Supported by:
    China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, No.2016M600121;State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System


High concentration of PM2.5 has been universally considered as a main cause for haze formation. Therefore, it is important to identify the spatial heterogeneity and influencing factors of PM2.5 concentration for the purpose of regional air quality control and management. Using PM2.5 data from 2000 to 2011 that is inversed from NASA atmospheric remote sensing images, and employing the methods in geo-statistics, geographic detectors and geo-spatial analysis, this paper reveals the spatio-temporal evolution patterns and driving factors of PM2.5 concentration in China. The main findings are as follows: (1) In general, the average concentration of PM2.5 in China has increased quickly and reached its peak value in the year of 2006; after that, it has been maintained at around 22.47-28.26 μg/m3. (2) PM2.5 is strikingly uneven in China, with a higher concentration in North and East than in South and West, respectively. In particular, the areas with a relatively high concentration of PM2.5 are mainly the four regions including the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, the Lower Yangtze River Delta Plain, the Sichuan Basin, and the Taklimakan Desert. Among them, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region has the highest concentration of PM2.5. (3) The center of gravity of PM2.5 has shown an overall eastward movement trend, which indicates an increasingly serious haze in eastern China. Particularly, the center of gravity of high-value PM2.5 is kept on moving eastward, while that of the low-value PM2.5 moves westward. (4) The spatial autocorrelation analysis indicates a significantly positive spatial correlation. The "High-High" PM2.5 agglomeration areas include the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, Fenhe-Weihe River Basin, Sichuan Basin, and Jianghan plain regions. The "Low-Low" PM2.5 agglomeration areas include Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang to the north of the Great Wall, Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and Taiwan, Hainan and Fujian and other southeast coastal and island areas. (5) Geographic detection analysis indicates that both natural and human factors account for the spatial variations of PM2.5 concentration. In particular, factors such as natural geographical location, population density, automobile quantity, industrial discharge and straw burning are the main driving forces of PM2.5 concentration in China.

Key words: PM2.5, air pollution, tempo-spatial evolution, geographical detector, China