Assessment of air quality in North Korea from satellite observations

Chong, H., Lee, S., Cho, Y., Kim, J., Koo, J.-H., Pyo Kim, Y., Kim, Y. ORCID:, Woo, J.-H., et al. (2023). Assessment of air quality in North Korea from satellite observations. Environment International 171 e107708. 10.1016/j.envint.2022.107708.

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North Korea's air quality is poorly understood due to a lack of reliable data. Here, we analyzed urban- to national-scale air quality changes in North Korea using multi-year satellite observations. Pyongyang, Nampo, Pukchang, and Munchon were identified as pollution hotspots. On a national scale, we found that North Korea experienced 6.7, 17.8, and 20.6 times greater amounts of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) per unit primary energy supply (PES) than South Korea from 2005 to 2018. Besides, North Korea had a 24.3 times larger aerosol optical depth (AOD) per PES than South Korea from 2011 to 2018. Severe CO and aerosol pollution is aligned with extensive biofuel combustion. High SO2 pollution corresponds with the strong coal dependence of the industry. The change rates of the national average columns for NO2, SO2, and CO were + 3.6, -4.4, and -0.4 % yr-1, respectively. The AOD change rate was -4.8 % yr-1. Overall decreasing trends, except for NO2, are likely due to a decline in coal-fired PES. Positive NO2 trends are consistent with increasing industrial activities. Each pollutant showed consistent patterns of linear trends, even after correcting the influence of transboundary pollution. Flue gas control and biofuel consumption reduction seem necessary to improve North Korea's air quality.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Air quality; North Korea; Satellite observations
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Pollution Management (PM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 08:52
Last Modified: 04 Jan 2023 08:52

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