Articles | Volume 13, issue 20
Research article
31 Oct 2013
Research article |  | 31 Oct 2013

Intense atmospheric pollution modifies weather: a case of mixed biomass burning with fossil fuel combustion pollution in eastern China

A. J. Ding, C. B. Fu, X. Q. Yang, J. N. Sun, T. Petäjä, V.-M. Kerminen, T. Wang, Y. Xie, E. Herrmann, L. F. Zheng, W. Nie, Q. Liu, X. L. Wei, and M. Kulmala

Abstract. The influence of air pollutants, especially aerosols, on regional and global climate has been widely investigated, but only a very limited number of studies report their impacts on everyday weather. In this work, we present for the first time direct (observational) evidence of a clear effect of how a mixed atmospheric pollution changes the weather with a substantial modification in the air temperature and rainfall. By using comprehensive measurements in Nanjing, China, we found that mixed agricultural burning plumes with fossil fuel combustion pollution resulted in a decrease in the solar radiation intensity by more than 70%, a decrease in the sensible heat by more than 85%, a temperature drop by almost 10 K, and a change in rainfall during both daytime and nighttime. Our results show clear air pollution–weather interactions, and quantify how air pollution affects weather via air pollution–boundary layer dynamics and aerosol–radiation–cloud feedbacks. This study highlights cross-disciplinary needs to investigate the environmental, weather and climate impacts of the mixed biomass burning and fossil fuel combustion sources in East China.

Final-revised paper