Articles | Volume 13, issue 20
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 10545–10554, 2013

Special issue: Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study (iLEAPS)...

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 10545–10554, 2013

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. Ding1, C. B. Fu1, X. Q. Yang1, J. N. Sun1, T. Petäjä2, V.-M. Kerminen2, T. Wang3, Y. Xie1, E. Herrmann1,2, L. F. Zheng1, W. Nie1, Q. Liu1, X. L. Wei4, and M. Kulmala2 A. J. Ding et al.
  • 1Institute for Climate and Global Change Research & School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, 210093, China
  • 2Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
  • 4Shenzhen Meteorological Bureau, Shenzhen, China

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