Transport, mixing and feedback of dust, biomass burning and anthropogenic pollutants in eastern Asia: a case study

Zhou, Derong; Ding, Ke; Huang, Xin; Liu, Lixia; Liu, Qiang; Xu, Zhengning; Jiang, Fei; Fu, Congbin; Ding, Aijun

Anthropogenic fossil fuel (FF) combustion, biomass burning (BB) and desert dust are the main sources of air pollutants around the globe but are particularly intensive and important for air quality in Asia in spring. In this study, we investigate the vertical distribution, transport characteristics, source contribution and meteorological feedback of these aerosols in a unique pollution episode that occurred in eastern Asia based on various measurement data and modeling methods. In this episode, the Yangtze River Delta (YRD) in eastern China experienced persistent air pollution, dramatically changing from secondary fine particulate pollution to dust pollution in late March 2015. The Eulerian and Lagrangian models were conducted to investigate the vertical structure, transport characteristics and mechanisms of the multi-scale, multisource and multiday air pollution episode. The regional polluted continental aerosols mainly accumulated near the surface, mixed with dust aerosol downwash from the upper planetary boundary layer (PBL) and middle–lower troposphere (MLT), and further transported by large-scale cold fronts and warm conveyor belts. BB smoke from Southeast Asia was transported by westerlies around the altitude of 3 km from southern China, was further mixed with dust and FF aerosols in eastern China and experienced long-range transport over the Pacific. These pollutants could all be transported to the YRD region and cause a structure of multilayer pollution there. These pollutants could also cause significant feedback with MLT meteorology and then enhance local anthropogenic pollution. This study highlights the importance of intensive vertical measurement in eastern China and the downwind Pacific Ocean and raises the need for quantitative understanding of environmental and climate impacts of these pollution sources.

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Zhou, Derong / Ding, Ke / Huang, Xin / et al: Transport, mixing and feedback of dust, biomass burning and anthropogenic pollutants in eastern Asia: a case study. 2018. Copernicus Publications.

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