(Yicai Global) Sept. 4 -- China could face challenging weather conditions in autumn and winter this year as heavy air pollution comes in earlier than usual, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said yesterday, citing a preliminary analysis by experts.
China should make smog control a top priority and work hard to combat are pollution in the cooler months this year, the ministry added.
Ice melting in the Arctic Sea and changes in the Pacific Ocean's water temperature could cause the Siberian High, a collection of cold dry air in northeast Eurasia, to be weaker than usual, making cold air outbreaks less frequent. A stronger subtropical high in the Pacific Ocean could lead to higher temperatures and humidity during autumn and winter, China News Service quoted experts as saying.
The smog that has been hitting Beijing since Aug. 31 is similar to that which came in 2015 and mid-September last year, a sign that heavy air pollution could strike the country earlier than usual this year.
The environmental protection ministry has taken a series of tough measures this year to improve air quality, such as strengthening supervision and clamping down on polluting enterprises. The move has yielded positive early results.
However, air quality improvements are limited in cooler months in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. The average PM2.5 concentration even rose during the 2016 to 2017 heating season compared with the same period a year earlier, with no significant decrease in the number of days with heavy pollution.
PM2.5 refers to micro particles of 2.5 micrometers or less, which are known to cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
The MEP has ordered 28 cities in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region to improve air pollution plans as quickly as possible and ensure emission reduction measures produce substantial results.
They should also improve their ability to forecast smog and take action. Once regional heavy pollution is detected, the ministry will issue alerts to cities. The cities should then take prompt measures to reduce emissions in the region and slow the buildup of pollutants.