Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-769
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2021-769

  12 Oct 2021

12 Oct 2021

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

Interaction between aerosol and thermodynamic stability within the PBL during the wintertime over the North China Plain: Aircraft observation and WRF-Chem simulation

Hao Luo1, Li Dong2, Yichen Chen3,4, Yuefeng Zhao5, Delong Zhao3,4, Mengyu Huang3,4, Deping Ding3,4, Jiayuan Liao1, Tian Ma1, Maohai Hu2, and Yong Han1,6 Hao Luo et al.
  • 1Advanced Science & Technology of Atmospheric Physics Group (ASAG), School of Atmospheric Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University & Southern marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory, Zhuhai 519082, China
  • 2School of Electronic and Optical Engineering, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Nanjing 210094, China
  • 3Beijing Weather Modification Office, Beijing 100089, China
  • 4Beijing Key Laboratory of Cloud, Precipitation and Atmospheric Water Resources (LCPW), Beijing Meteorological Bureau, Beijing 100089, China
  • 5School of Physics and Electronics, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, China
  • 6Key Laboratory of Tropical Atmosphere-Ocean System (Sun Yat-sen University), Ministry of Education, Zhuhai 519082, China

Abstract. Aerosol-planetary boundary layer (PBL) interaction has been proposed as a key mechanism for stabilizing the atmosphere and exacerbating surface air pollution. Although the understanding of this process has progressed enormously, its magnitude and impact remain uncertain and vary widely concerning aerosol types, vertical distributions, synoptic conditions, etc. In this study, our primary interest is to distinguish the aerosol-PBL interaction of absorbing and scattering aerosols under contrasting synoptic patterns and aerosol vertical distributions. Detailed in-situ aircraft (KingAir-350) measurements and online coupled model Weather Research and Forecasting with Chemistry (WRF-Chem) simulations are explored over the North China Plain (NCP). Furthermore, a long-term PBL stability trend from 1980 to 2020 over the NCP is also investigated. The aircraft measurements and surface observations show that the surface air pollution over the Baoding City on 3 January is heavier than that on 4 January, 2020. In addition, the aerosols are restricted to the low layer on 3 January, whereas the aerosols mix more homogeneous upwards on 4 January. Thereupon, we focus on the two days with distinct synoptic circumstances, PBL stability, and aerosol vertical distributions over the NCP. According to the WRF-Chem modelling, the synoptic pattern over the Baoding City differs between the two days. The prevailing wind direction is opposite with a southwest wind on 3 January and a northeast wind on 4 January. The results indicate that the synoptic condition may affect the PBL thermal structure, thus affecting the aerosol vertical distribution. Additionally, the sensitive numerical experiments reveal that the light-absorbing and light-scattering aerosols have different effects on altering the PBL thermal structure. The inhibition effect of scattering aerosols on the PBL appears to be independent of the aerosol height distribution and solely depends on its concentration. However, aerosol-PBL feedback of absorbing aerosols is highly dependent on its vertical distribution. Our analysis highlights that we should principally concentrate on controlling the emissions of scattering aerosols under the stable stratification while cooperating to control the emissions of scattering and absorbing aerosols in an unstable stratification. Moreover, the long-term inter-annual variation in PBL stability shows a strong correlation with the East Asian Winter Monsoon, which seems to be valuable in determining which pollutants to target in different monsoon years and attaining more precise air pollution control. Based on the numerical simulations and observational constraints, a concept scheme description has been concluded to deepen our recognition of the interactions between thermodynamic stability and aerosols within the PBL over the NCP region.

Hao Luo et al.

Status: open (until 23 Nov 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Hao Luo et al.

Hao Luo et al.

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Short summary
Aerosol-PBL interaction is a key mechanism for stabilizing the atmosphere and exacerbating surface air pollution. Using aircraft measurements and WRF-Chem simulations, we find that the aerosol-PBL interaction of absorbing and scattering aerosols under contrasting synoptic patterns, PBL structures, and aerosol vertical distributions vary significantly. This paper helps to determine which pollutants to target in different synoptic conditions and attain more precise air pollution control.
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