China develops 3-day smog forecasts
An air quality early warning system means smog can be forecasted two or three days in advance, the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said on Thursday.
At a meeting on environmental monitoring, vice minister Wu Xiaoqing said an air quality forecast and early warning center covering the whole country is in operation with a forecast accuracy of 60 to 70 percent.
China began air quality forecasts in 47 major cities in 1998. The new system covers all prefecture-level cities in the Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, areas surrounding Beijing and other capital cities of provincial regions.
Wu called for improvements through remote sensing and other cutting edge technology, as well as innovating new ways to publicize air quality information. Around 1,200 automatic air quality monitoring stations have been established in 252 cities.
At an earlier meeting, Wu said that finding the primary cause of pollution was of utmost importance.
"The control and prevention of smog will be effective only when we know the main cause. Haze analysis needs more than a year of records to be effective," said Luo Yi, head of monitoring at the ministry. All municipalities, provincial capitals and listed cities must start research on smog sources this year.
Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang should hand in preliminary results in the first half of 2014. Other cities should submit by the end of this year, the ministry said.