Articles | Volume 13, issue 21
Research article
05 Nov 2013
Research article |  | 05 Nov 2013

Observational studies of the meteorological characteristics associated with poor air quality over the Pearl River Delta in China

M. Wu, D. Wu, Q. Fan, B. M. Wang, H. W. Li, and S. J. Fan

Abstract. The structure of the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) and its influence on regional air quality over the Pearl River Delta (PRD) were examined through two intensive observations in October 2004 and July 2006. Analytical results show the presence of two types of typical weather conditions associated with poor air quality over the PRD. The first is the warm period before a cold front (WPBCF) and the second is the subsidence period controlled by a tropical cyclone (SPCTC). Two typical low air quality situations, which are affected by WPBCF and SPCTC, and one high air quality situation were analysed in detail. Results showed that continuously low or calm ground winds resulted in the accumulation of pollutants, and sea-land breezes had an important role during low air quality conditions. Data on recirculation factors showed that recirculation was significant during low air quality conditions, and steady transportation occurred during high air quality conditions. The ventilation index and the 24 h average ventilation index during high air quality conditions were significantly higher than those during low air quality conditions. Deep and stable inversion layers inside the ABL remarkably affected low air quality. Surface and low-altitude inversions were usually observed during WPBCF, contrary to during SPCTC, during which only the low-altitude inversion appeared frequently.

Final-revised paper