Articles | Volume 17, issue 15
Research article
04 Aug 2017
Research article |  | 04 Aug 2017

On the multiday haze in the Asian continental outflow: the important role of synoptic conditions combined with regional and local sources

Jihoon Seo, Jin Young Kim, Daeok Youn, Ji Yi Lee, Hwajin Kim, Yong Bin Lim, Yumi Kim, and Hyoun Cher Jin

Abstract. The air quality of the megacities in populated and industrialized regions like East Asia is affected by both local and regional emission sources. The combined effect of regional transport and local emissions on multiday haze was investigated through a synthetic analysis of PM2. 5 sampled at both an urban site in Seoul, South Korea and an upwind background site on Deokjeok Island over the Yellow Sea during a severe multiday haze episode in late February 2014. Inorganic components and carbonaceous species of daily PM2. 5 samples were measured, and gaseous pollutants, local meteorological factors, and synoptic meteorological conditions were also determined. A dominance of fine-mode particles (PM2. 5 ∕ PM10  ∼  0.8), a large secondary inorganic fraction (76 %), high OC ∕ EC (> 7), and highly oxidized aerosols (oxygen-to-carbon ratio of  ∼  0.6 and organic-mass-to-carbon ratio of  ∼  1.9) under relatively warm, humid, and stagnant conditions characterize the multiday haze episode in Seoul; however, the early and late stages of the episode show different chemical compositions of PM2. 5. High concentrations of sulfate in both Seoul and the upwind background in the early stage suggest a significant regional influence on the onset of the multiday haze. At the same time, high concentrations of nitrate and organic compounds in Seoul, which are local and highly correlated with meteorological factors, suggest the contribution of local emissions and secondary formation under stagnant meteorological conditions to the haze. A slow eastward-moving high-pressure system from southern China to the East China Sea induces the regional transport of aerosols and potential gaseous precursors for secondary aerosols from the North China Plain in the early stage but provides stagnant conditions conducive to the accumulation and the local formation of aerosols in the late stage. A blocking ridge over Alaska that developed during the episode hinders the zonal propagation of synoptic-scale systems and extends the haze period to several days. This study provides chemical insights into haze development sequentially by regional transport and local sources, and shows that the synoptic condition plays an important role in the dynamical evolution of long-lasting haze in the Asian continental outflow region.

Short summary
Multiday haze pollution in the Asian continental outflow region is affected by both local and regional sources. The temporal evolution of PM2.5 inorganic species and organic compounds in Seoul, South Korea, and its upwind background site over the Yellow Sea shows the haze development sequentially by regional transport and local primary and secondary sources. Synoptic-scale weather systems and atmospheric blocking patterns play an important role in the dynamical evolution of the multiday haze.
Final-revised paper