Analysis of a winter regional haze event and its formation mechanism in the North China Plain
A regional haze episode occurred in the Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province (BTH) area in the North China Plain (NCP) from 16 to 19 January 2010. Data were collected and analyzed during the time frame of 14 through 23 January 2010 to include the haze event. The increase of secondary inorganic pollutants (SO 42−, NO 3−, NH 4+) in PM 2.5 was observed simultaneously at four sites, especially in the plain area of the BTH, which could be identified as a common characteristic of pollution haze in east China. The sulfate and nitrate in PM 2.5 were mainly formed through the heterogeneous reaction process in the urban area. The organic matter (OM) increased more significantly at the Chengde (CD) site than the other three sites in the plain area. The secondary organic aerosols only existed during haze days at CD but in both haze and non-haze days at the other three sites, which suggested the greater regional impact of secondary formation process during the haze episode. The secondary formation of aerosol was one important formation mechanism of haze. The strong temperature inversion and descending air motions in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) allowed pollutants to accumulate in a shallow layer. The weak surface wind speed produced high pollutants concentration within source regions. The accumulation of pollutants was one main factor in the haze formation. The enhanced southwest wind in the last period of this episode transported pollutants to the downwind area and expanded the regional scope of the haze.