Satellite sensors can provide unique views of global pollution information from space. In particular, a series of aerosol and trace gas monitoring instruments have been operating for more than a decade, providing the opportunity to analyze temporal trends of major pollutants on a large scale. In this study, we integrate aerosol products from MODIS (MODIS Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, all abbreviations and their definitions are listed alphabetically in Abbreviations) and MISR (Multi-angle Imaging Spectroradiometer), the AAI (Absorbing Aerosol Index) product from OMI (Ozone Monitoring Instrument), column SO2 and NO2 concentrations from OMI, and tropospheric column ozone concentration from OMI/MLS (Microwave Limb Sounder) to study temporal changes in major pollutants over China. MODIS and MISR consistently revealed that column AOD (Aerosol Optical Depth) increased from 2000, peaked around 2007, and started to decline afterward, except for northwest and northeast China, where a continuous upward trend was found. Extensive negative trends in both SO2 and NO2 have also been found over major pollution source regions since ~2005. On the other hand, the OMI AAI exhibited significant increases over north China, especially the northeast and northwest regions. These places also have a decreased Angstrom exponent as revealed by MISR, indicating an increased fraction of large particles. In general, summer had the largest AOD, SO2, and NO2 trends, whereas AAI trends were strongest for autumn and winter. A multi-regression analysis showed that much of the AOD variance over major pollution source regions could be explained by SO2, NO2, and AAI combined, and that the SO2 and NO2 reduction was likely to be responsible for the negative AOD trends, while the AOD increase over NE and NW China may be associated with an increase of coarse particles revealed by increased AAI and decreased AE. In contrast to aerosols, tropospheric ozone exhibited a steady increase from 2005 throughout China. This indicates that although the recent emission control effectively reduced aerosol pollutants, ozone remains a challenging issue and may dominate future air pollution.
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