Heavy near-surface PM2.5 pollution in Lhasa, China during a relatively static winter period

Chaoliu Li, Xiaowen Han, Shichang Kang, Fangping Yan, Pengfei Chen, Zhaofu Hu, Junhua Yang, Duojie Ciren, Shaopeng Gao, Mika Sillanpää, Yongming Han, Yuyan Cui, Shang Liu, Kirk R. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Fairly high near-surface PM2.5 concentrations were found during relatively static winter conditions within Lhasa – a Tibetan Plateau city normally considered to have a clean atmosphere. The average daily PM2.5 concentration reached 118 ± 60 μg m−3 during the study period, was approximately 3.4 times the United States Environmental Protection Agency 24-h standard. PM2.5 concentration of Lhasa increased from 20:00 until 23:00, which was probably caused by space heating, waste incineration activities and decreased boundary layer at night. Furthermore, we found traditional religious butter lamp lighting of local Tibetan residents during festivals could cause PM2.5 concentration to reach an alarmingly high level, 240 ± 30 μg m−3. Therefore, to protect the atmosphere of Lhasa, the government may wish to conduct more complete monitoring and find ways to encourage clean heating and cooking fuels, enforce the supervision on illegal emission activities such as waste incineration, and guide residents to transfer to more environmentally friendly activities during festivals. We found abnormal high outdoor PM2.5 concentration of Lhasa city was caused by butter lamp lighting during a local festival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution
  • Butter lamp lighting
  • Festivals
  • Tibetan Plateau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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