Articles | Volume 12, issue 16
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 7591–7607, 2012
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 12, 7591–7607, 2012

Research article 21 Aug 2012

Research article | 21 Aug 2012

Mixing of Asian mineral dust with anthropogenic pollutants over East Asia: a model case study of a super-duststorm in March 2010

J. Li1, Z. Wang1, G. Zhuang2, G. Luo1, Y. Sun1, and Q. Wang3 J. Li et al.
  • 1LAPC, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • 2Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Study, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, China
  • 3Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, Shanghai, China

Abstract. Mixing of Asian mineral dust with anthropogenic pollutants allows pollutants (e.g. sulfate and nitrate) to be transported over longer distances (e.g. to the northern Pacific, even to North America) along with dust particles. This mixing therefore affects the atmospheric and oceanic environment at local, regional and even continental scales. In this study, we used a three-dimensional regional chemical transport model (Nested Air Quality Predicting Modeling System, NAQPMS) to examine the degree of mixing between Asian mineral dust and anthropogenic pollutants in a super-duststorm event during 19–22 March 2010. Influences of the mixing processes on regional atmospheric environmental and oceanic biogeochemical cycles were also investigated. A comparison with measurements showed that the model reproduced well the trajectory of long-range dust transport, the vertical dust profile, and the chemical evolution of dust particles. We found that along-path mixing processes during the long-range transport of Asian dust led to increasingly polluted particles. As a result, ~60% of the sulfate and 70–95% of the nitrate in the downwind regions was derived from active mixing processes of minerals with pollutants sourced from the North China Plain and enhanced by transport over South China. This mixing had a significant impact on the regional-scale atmospheric composition and oceanic biogeochemical cycle. Surface HNO3, SO2 and O3 were decreased by up to 90%, 40% and 30%, respectively, due to the heterogeneous reactions on dust particles. Fe solubility rose from ~0.5% in the Gobi region to ~3–5% in the northwestern Pacific, resulting from oxidization of SO2 on dust particles. Total Fe(II) deposition in the ocean region of East Asia reached 327 tons during the 4-day dust event, and created a calculated primary productivity of ~520 mgC m−2 d−1 in the Kuril Islands, which can support almost 100% of the observed mean marine primary productivity in spring in this region (526 mgC m−2 d−1).

Final-revised paper