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China and Global Change: Opportunities for Collaboration
Coal accounts for approximately 75 percent of China's annual energy consumption. Emissions of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide (SO2) from burning coal are major contributors to regional air pollution. These emissions not only lead to urban and regional pollution problems such as oxidants and acid precipitation, but potentially also have global impacts. Anthropogenic emissions of ozone (O3) precursors, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and hydrocarbons, can lead to a significant increase in tropospheric O3 (IPCC 1990). For example, O3 is known to contribute significantly to the infrared radiation in the upper troposphere and, therefore, plays an important role in climate change (IPCC 1990). Remarkably high levels of tropospheric O3 over northeastern China and Japan in spring and summer have been deduced from satellite observations (Fishman et al. 1990). While both natural (stratospheric intrusion and lightning) and anthropogenic processes may contribute to the high levels of O3, the processes need to be quantitatively evaluated (Liu et al. 1987).
Chinese atmospheric chemistry research has been conducted primarily in areas of urban pollution, for example, suspended particles, O3 and O3 precursors, and toxic species. Recently, there have been some important efforts to address large-scale background atmospheric chemistry issues that have regional or global implications. The major foci of these efforts include tropospheric oxidants, greenhouse gases, aerosols, stratospheric O3, and acid precipitation. However, these efforts are severely limited due to a lack of funding, advanced instruments, and certain expertise in a few global change-related disciplines. It appears that atmospheric chemistry is not a field of high priority. This is also reflected in the field of atmospheric chemistry modeling, which is in its infancy compared to modeling efforts in climate or meteorology. Given the availability of highly trained theoreticians and relatively small capital investment required, one would expect to find more activities in atmospheric chemistry modeling.
The extent and nature of current atmospheric chemistry research is indicated by a survey of papers published in five leading Chinese journals1 over a 3-year period: China Environmental Science (Zhongguo Huanjing Kexue, Chinese language, bimonthly); Acta Scientiae Circumstantiae (Journal of Environmental Science [Huanjing Kexue Xuebao], Chinese language, quarterly); Environmental Science, (Huanjing Kexue, Chinese language, bimonthly); Environmental Chemistry, (Huanjing Huaxue, Chinese language, bimonthly); and Scientia Atmospherica Sinica, (Daqi Kexue, Chinese language, quarterly). Between 1988 and 1990, 1,059 articles were published in these journals, and the majority dealt with water or soil