Articles | Volume 12, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 4935–4950, 2012

Special issue: Haze in China (HaChi 2009–2010)

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 4935–4950, 2012

Research article 06 Jun 2012

Research article | 06 Jun 2012

A parameterization of low visibilities for hazy days in the North China Plain

J. Chen1, C. S. Zhao2, N. Ma1, P. F. Liu1, T. Göbel2, E. Hallbauer2, Z. Z. Deng3, L. Ran1, W. Y. Xu1, Z. Liang1, H. J. Liu1, P. Yan4,*, X. J. Zhou1,4, and A. Wiedensohler2 J. Chen et al.
  • 1Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, China
  • 2Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research, Leipzig, Germany
  • 3Key Laboratory of Middle Atmosphere and Global Environment Observation, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 4Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China
  • *now at: Meteorological Observation Centre, China Meteorological Administration, Beijing, China

Abstract. Visibility degradation is a pervasive and urgent environmental problem in China. The occurrence of low visibility events is frequent in the North China Plain, where the aerosol loading is quite high and aerosols are strongly hygroscopic. A parameterization of light extinction (Kex) for low visibilities on hazy days is proposed in this paper, based on visibility, relative humidity (RH), aerosol hygroscopic growth factors and particle number size distributions measured during the Haze in China (HaChi) Project. Observational results show that a high aerosol volume concentration is responsible for low visibility at RH <90%; while for RH >90%, decrease of visibility is mainly influenced by the increase of RH. The parameterization of Kex is developed on the basis of aerosol volume concentrations and RH, taking into accounts the sensitivity of visibility to the two factors and the availability of corresponding data. The extinction coefficients calculated with the parameterization schemes agree well with the directly measured values.

Final-revised paper