A foehn-induced haze front in Beijing: observations and implications

Li, Ju; Sun, Zhaobin; Lenschow, Donald H.; Zhou, Mingyu; Dou, Youjun; Cheng, Zhigang; Wang, Yaoting; Li, Qingchun

Despite frequent foehns in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei (BTH) region, there are only a few studies of their effects on air pollution in this region, or elsewhere. Here, we discuss a foehn-induced haze front (HF) event using observational data to document its structure and evolution. Using a dense network of comprehensive measurements in the BTH region, our analyses indicate that the foehn played an important role in the formation of the HF with significant impacts on air pollution. Northerly warm–dry foehn winds, with low particulate concentration in the northern area, collided with a cold–wet polluted air mass to the south and formed an HF in the urban area. The HF, which is associated with a surface wind convergence line and distinct contrasts of temperature, humidity and pollutant concentrations, resulted in an explosive growth of particulate concentration. As the plain–mountain wind circulation was overpowered by the foehn, a weak pressure gradient due to the different air densities between air masses was the main factor forcing advances of the polluted air mass into the clean air mass, resulting in severe air pollution over the main urban areas. Our results show that the foehn can affect air pollution through two effects: direct wind transport of air pollutants, and altering the air mass properties to inhibit boundary layer growth and thus indirectly aggravating air pollution. This study highlights the need to further investigate the foehn and its impacts on air pollution in the BTH region.



Li, Ju / Sun, Zhaobin / Lenschow, Donald H. / et al: A foehn-induced haze front in Beijing: observations and implications. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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