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Evaluation and comparison of CMIP6 models and MERRA-2 reanalysis AOD against Satellite observations from 2000 to 2014 over China

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-10, 02:43 authored by Md. Arfan Ali, Muhammad Bilal, Yu Wang, Zhongfeng Qiu, Janet E Nichol, Gerrit de Leeuw, Song Ke, Alaa Mhawish, Mansour Almazroui, Usman Mazhar, Birhanu Asmerom Habtemicheal, M Nazrul Islam
Rapid industrialization and urbanization along with a growing population are contributing significantly to air pollution in China. Evaluation of long-term aerosol optical depth (AOD) data from models and reanalysis, can greatly promote understanding of spatiotemporal variations in air pollution in China. To do this, AOD (550 nm) values from 2000 to 2014 were obtained from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project (CIMP6), the second version of Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research, and Applications (MERRA-2), and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS; flying on the Terra satellite) combined Dark Target and Deep Blue (DTB) aerosol product. We used the Terra-MODIS DTB AOD (hereafter MODIS DTB AOD) as a standard to evaluate CMIP6 Ensemble AOD (hereafter CMIP6 AOD) and MERRA-2 reanalysis AOD (hereafter MERRA-2 AOD). Results show better correlations and smaller errors between MERRA-2 and MODIS DTB AOD, than between CMIP6 and MODIS DTB AOD, in most regions of China, at both annual and seasonal scales. However, significant under- and over-estimations in the MERRA-2 and CMIP6 AOD were also observed relative to MODIS DTB AOD. The long-term (2000–2014) MODIS DTB AOD distributions show the highest AOD over the North China Plain (0.71) followed by Central China (0.69), Yangtse River Delta (0.67), Sichuan Basin (0.64), and Pearl River Delta (0.54) regions. The lowest AOD values were recorded over the Tibetan Plateau (0.13 ± 0.01) followed by Qinghai (0.19 ± 0.03) and the Gobi Desert (0.21 ± 0.03). Large amounts of sand and dust particles emitted from natural sources (the Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts) may result in higher AOD in spring compared to summer, autumn, and winter. Trends were also calculated for 2000–2005, for 2006–2010 (when China introduced strict air pollution control policies during the 11th Five Year Plan or FYP), and for 2011–2014 (during the 12th FYP). An increasing trend in MODIS DTB AOD was observed throughout the country during 2000–2014. The uncontrolled industrialization, urbanization, and rapid economic development that mostly occurred from 2000 to 2005 probably contributed to the overall increase in AOD. Finally, China's air pollution control policies helped to reduce AOD in most regions of the country; this was more evident during the 12th FYP period (2011–2014) than during the 11th FYP period (2006–2010). Therefore this study strongly advises the authority to retain or extend these policies in the future for improving air quality.


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