Impact of atmospheric circulations on aerosol distributions in autumn over eastern China: observational evidence
- 1School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, PR China
- 2State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing, 100081, PR China
- 3Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Sciences and Satellite Remote Sensing of Anhui Province, Anhui Institute of Meteorological Sciences, Hefei, 230031, PR China
- 4Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4520, USA
Abstract. Regional heavy pollution events in eastern China (110–122° E, 28–40° N) are causing serious environmental problems. In this study, the relationship between the degree of regional pollution and the patterns of large-scale atmospheric circulation over eastern China in October is investigated using 10-year (2001–2010) Terra/MODIS aerosol optical depth and NCEP reanalysis data by both case study and composite analysis. Eighteen polluted and 10 clean episodes are selected and categorised into six polluted types and three clean types respectively. Generally speaking, weather patterns such as a uniform surface pressure field in eastern China or a steady straight westerly in the middle troposphere, particularly when being at the rear of the anticyclone at 850 hPa, are typically responsible for heavy pollution events. Meanwhile, clean episodes occur when strong southeastward cold air advection prevails below the middle troposphere or air masses are transported from sea to land. Uniform descending motion prevails over the study region, trapping pollutants in the lower atmosphere. Therefore, the value of vertical velocity averaged from 1000 to 100 hPa and divergence of wind field in the lower troposphere are used in this study to quantify the diffusion conditions in each circulation type. The results reveal that it is often a clean episode when both the mean downward motion (larger than 2.56 × 10−2 Pa s−1) and the divergence of low-level winds (larger than 1.79 × 10−2 s−1) are strong. Otherwise, it is more likely to be a polluted episode.