PLAM – a meteorological pollution index for air quality and its applications in fog-haze forecasts in North China
Abstract. Using surface meteorological observation and high-resolution emission data, this paper discusses the application of the PLAM/h index (Parameter Linking Air-quality to Meteorological conditions/haze) in the prediction of large-scale low visibility and fog-haze events. Based on the two-dimensional probability density function diagnosis model for emissions, the study extends the diagnosis and prediction of the meteorological pollution index PLAM to the regional visibility fog-haze intensity. The results show that combining the influence of regular meteorological conditions and emission factors together in the PLAM/h parameterization scheme is very effective in improving the diagnostic identification ability of the fog-haze weather in North China. The determination coefficients for four seasons (spring, summer, autumn, and winter) between PLAM/h and visibility observation are 0.76, 0.80, 0.96, and 0.86, respectively, and all of their significance levels exceed 0.001, showing the ability of PLAM/h to predict the seasonal changes and differences of fog-haze weather in the North China region. The high-value correlation zones are located in Jing-Jin-Ji (Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei), Bohai Bay rim, and southern Hebei–northern Henan, indicating that the PLAM/h index is related to the distribution of frequent heavy fog-haze weather in North China and the distribution of emission high-value zone. Through comparative analysis of the heavy fog-haze events and large-scale clear-weather processes in winter and summer, it is found that PLAM/h index 24 h forecast is highly correlated with the visibility observation. Therefore, the PLAM/h index has good capability in identification, analysis, and forecasting.