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https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-379
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2020-379
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  26 May 2020

26 May 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Elevated dust layers inhibit dissipation of heavy anthropogenic surface air pollution

Zhuang Wang1,2, Cheng Liu2,3,1,5,6, Zhouqing Xie4,3,1,6, Qihou Hu1, Meinrat O. Andreae7,8, Yunsheng Dong1, Chun Zhao4, Ting Liu4, Yizhi Zhu1,2, Haoran Liu10, Chengzhi Xing1,4, Wei Tan1,2, Xiangguang Ji9, Jinan Lin1,2, and Jianguo Liu1,3 Zhuang Wang et al.
  • 1Key Lab of Environmental Optics & Technology, Anhui Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, 230031, China
  • 2Department of Precision Machinery and Precision Instrumentation, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 3Center for Excellence in Regional Atmospheric Environment, Institute of Urban Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xiamen, 361021, China
  • 4School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 5Key Laboratory of Precision Scientific Instrumentation of Anhui Higher Education Institutes, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 6Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Polar Environment and Global Change, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 7Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Mainz, 55128, Germany
  • 8Department of Geology and Geophysics, King Saud University, 11451 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 9School of Environmental Science and Optoelectronic Technology, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, 230026, China
  • 10Institute of Physical Science and Information Technology, Anhui University, Hefei, 230601, China

Abstract. Persistent winter–time heavy haze incidents caused by anthropogenic aerosols have repeatedly shrouded North China in recent years, while natural dust from west and northwest of China also frequently affects air quality in this region. Through continuous observation by a multi–wavelength Raman lidar, here we found that aerosols in North China are typically characterized by a pronounced vertical stratification, where scattering non–spherical particles (dust or mixtures of dust and anthropogenic aerosols) dominated above the planetary boundary layer (PBL), and absorbing spherical particles (anthropogenic aerosols) prevailed within the PBL. This stratification is governed by meteorological conditions that strong northwesterly winds usually prevailed in the lower free troposphere, and southerly winds are dominated in the PBL, producing persistent and intense haze pollution. With the accumulation of elevated dust, the proportion of aerosol and trace gas at the surface in the whole column increased. Model results show that, besides directly deteriorating air quality, the key role of the elevated dust is to depress the development of PBL and weaken the turbulence exchange, mostly by lower–level cooling and upper–level heating, and it is more obvious during dissipation stage, thus inhibiting the dissipation of heavy surface anthropogenic aerosols. The interactions of natural dust and anthropogenic aerosols under the unique topography of North China increases the surface anthropogenic aerosols and precursor gases, which may be one of the reasons why haze pollution in North China is heavier than that in other heavily polluted areas in China.

Zhuang Wang et al.

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Zhuang Wang et al.

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Short summary
Significant stratification of aerosols was observed in North China. Polluted dust dominated above the PBL, and anthropogenic aerosols prevailed within the PBL, which is mainly driven by meteorological conditions. The key role of the elevated dust is to alter atmospheric thermodynamics and stability cause the suppression of turbulence exchange and decrease in PBL height, especially during dissipation stage, thereby inhibiting dissipation of persistent heavy surface haze pollution.
Significant stratification of aerosols was observed in North China. Polluted dust dominated...
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