Effects of atmospheric circulations on the interannual variation in PM 2.5 concentrations over the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region in 2013–2018

Wang, Xiaoyan; Zhang, Renhe

The Chinese government has made many efforts to mitigate fine particulate matter pollution in recent years by taking strict measures on air pollutant reduction, which has generated the nationwide improvements in air quality since 2013. However, under the stringent air pollution controls, how the wintertime PMinline-formula2.5 concentration (i.e., the mass concentration of atmospheric particles with diameters less than 2.5 inline-formulaµm) varies and how much the meteorological conditions contribute to the interannual variations in PMinline-formula2.5 concentrations are still unclear, and these very important for the local government to assess the emission reduction of the previous year and adjust mitigation strategies for the next year. The effects of atmospheric circulation on the interannual variation in wintertime PMinline-formula2.5 concentrations over the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region in the period of 2013–2018 are evaluated in this study. Generally, the transport of clean and dry air masses and an unstable boundary layer in combination with the effective near-surface horizontal divergence or pumping action at the top of the boundary layer benefits the horizontal or vertical diffusion of surface air pollutants. Instead, the co-occurrence of a stable boundary layer, frequent air stagnation, positive water vapor advection and deep near-surface horizontal convergence exacerbate the wintertime air pollution. Favorable circulation conditions lasting for 2–4 d are beneficial for the diffusion of air pollutants, and 3–7 d of unfavorable circulation events exacerbates the accumulation of air pollutants. The occurrence frequency of favorable circulation events is consistent with the interannual variation in seasonal mean PMinline-formula2.5 concentrations. There is better diffusion ability in the winters of 2014 and 2017 than in other years. A 59.9 % observed decrease in PMinline-formula2.5 concentrations in 2017 over the BTH region could be attributed to the improvement in atmospheric diffusion conditions. It is essential to exclude the contribution of meteorological conditions to the variation in interannual air pollutants when making a quantitative evaluation of emission reduction measurements.

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Wang, Xiaoyan / Zhang, Renhe: Effects of atmospheric circulations on the interannual variation in PM2.5 concentrations over the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region in 2013–2018. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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