Vertical observations of the atmospheric boundary layer structure over Beijing urban area during air pollution episodes

Wang, Linlin; Liu, Junkai; Gao, Zhiqiu; Li, Yubin; Huang, Meng; Fan, Sihui; Zhang, Xiaoye; Yang, Yuanjian; Miao, Shiguang; Zou, Han; Sun, Yele; Chen, Yong; Yang, Ting

We investigated the interactions between the air pollutants and the structure of the urban boundary layer (UBL) over Beijing by using the data mainly obtained from the 325 m meteorological tower and a Doppler wind lidar during 1–4 December 2016. Results showed that the pollution episodes in this period could be characterized by low surface pressure, high relative humidity, weak wind, and temperature inversion. Compared with a clean daytime episode that took place on 1 December, results also showed that the attenuation ratio of downward shortwave radiation was about 5 %, 24 % and 63 % in afternoon hours (from 12:00 to 14:00 local standard time, LST) on 2–4 December, respectively, while for the net radiation (Rn) attenuation ratio at the 140 m level of the 325 m tower was 3 %, 27 % and 68 %. The large reduction in Rn on 4 December was not only the result of the aerosols, but also clouds. Based on analysis of the surface energy balance at the 140 m level, we found that the sensible heat flux was remarkably diminished during daytime on polluted days and even negative after sunrise (about 07:20 LST) till 14:00 LST on 4 December. We also found that heat storage in the urban surface layer played an important role in the exchange of the sensible heat flux. Owing to the advantages of the wind lidar having superior spatial and temporal resolution, the vertical velocity variance could capture the evolution of the UBL well. It clearly showed that vertical mixing was negatively related to the concentrating of pollutants, and that vertical mixing would also be weakened by a certain quantity of pollutants, and then in turn worsened the pollution further. Compared to the clean daytime on 1 December, the maximums of the boundary layer height (BLH) decreased about 44 % and 56 % on 2–3 December, when the average PM2.5 (PM1) concentrations in afternoon hours (from 12:00 to 14:00 LST) were 44 (48) µg m−3 and 150 (120) µg m−3. Part of these reductions of the BLH was also contributed by the effect of the heat storage in the urban canopy.

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Wang, Linlin / Liu, Junkai / Gao, Zhiqiu / et al: Vertical observations of the atmospheric boundary layer structure over Beijing urban area during air pollution episodes. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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