Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-750
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-750

  12 Oct 2021

12 Oct 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

The relationship between PM2.5 and anti-cyclone wave activity during summer over the United States

Ye Wang1,2, Natalie Mahowald2, Peter Hess3, Wenxiu Sun3,a, and Gang Chen4 Ye Wang et al.
  • 1College of General Aviation and Flight, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
  • 2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 3Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  • 4Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • anow at: BloomSky Inc., Burlingame, CA, USA

Abstract. To better understand the role of atmospheric dynamics in modulating surface concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5), we relate the anti-cyclone wave activity (AWA) metric and PM2.5 data from the Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environment (IMPROVE) data for the period of 1988–2014 over the US. The observational results are compared with hindcast simulations over the past two decades using the National Center for Atmospheric Research-Community Earth System Model (NCAR CESM). We find that PM2.5 is positively correlated (up to R = 0.65) with AWA changes close to the observing sites using regression analysis. The composite AWA for high aerosol days (all daily PM2.5 above the 90th percentile) shows a similarly strong correlation between PM2.5 and AWA. The most prominent correlation occurs in the Midwestern US. Furthermore, the higher quantiles of PM2.5 levels are more sensitive to the changes in AWA. For example, we find the averaged sensitivity of the 90th percentile PM2.5 to changes in AWA is approximately three times as strong as the sensitivity of 10th percentile PM2.5 at one site (Arendtsville, Pennsylvania; 39.92° N, 77.31° W). The higher values of the 90th percentile compared to the 50th percentile in quantile regression slopes are most prominent over the northeastern US. In addition, future changes in US PM2.5 based only on changes in climate are estimated to increase PM2.5 concentrations due to increased AWA in summer over areas where PM2.5 variations are dominated by meteorological changes, especially over the western US. Changes between current and future climates in AWA can explain up to 75 % of PM2.5 variability using a linear regression model. Our analysis indicates that higher PM2.5 concentrations occur when a positive AWA anomaly is prominent, which could be critical for understanding how pollutants respond to changing atmospheric circulation, as well as developing robust pollution projections.

Ye Wang et al.

Status: open (until 23 Nov 2021)

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Ye Wang et al.

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Short summary
PM2.5 is positively correlated with the anti-cyclone wave activity (AWA) changes close to the observing sites. Changes between current and future climates in AWA can explain up to 75 % of PM2.5 variability using a linear regression model. Our analysis indicates that higher PM2.5 concentrations occur when a positive AWA anomaly is prominent, which could be critical for understanding how pollutants respond to changing atmospheric circulation, as well as developing robust pollution projections.
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