Enhanced air pollution via aerosol-boundary layer feedback in China

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Petäjä , T , Järvi , L , Kerminen , V -M , Ding , A J , Sun , J N , Nie , W , Kujansuu , J , Virkkula , A , Yang , X -Q , Fu , C B , Zilitinkevich , S & Kulmala , M 2016 , ' Enhanced air pollution via aerosol-boundary layer feedback in China ' , Scientific Reports , vol. 6 , 18998 . https://doi.org/10.1038/srep18998

Title: Enhanced air pollution via aerosol-boundary layer feedback in China
Author: Petäjä, T.; Järvi, L.; Kerminen, V. -M.; Ding, A. J.; Sun, J. N.; Nie, W.; Kujansuu, J.; Virkkula, A.; Yang, X. -Q.; Fu, C. B.; Zilitinkevich, S.; Kulmala, M.
Contributor organization: Department of Physics
Aerosol-Cloud-Climate -Interactions (ACCI)
Urban meteorology
Date: 2016-01-12
Language: eng
Number of pages: 6
Belongs to series: Scientific Reports
ISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep18998
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/161202
Abstract: Severe air pollution episodes have been frequent in China during the recent years. While high emissions are the primary reason for increasing pollutant concentrations, the ultimate cause for the most severe pollution episodes has remained unclear. Here we show that a high concentration of particulate matter (PM) will enhance the stability of an urban boundary layer, which in turn decreases the boundary layer height and consequently cause further increases in PM concentrations. We estimate the strength of this positive feedback mechanism by combining a new theoretical framework with ambient observations. We show that the feedback remains moderate at fine PM concentrations lower than about 200 mu g m(-3), but that it becomes increasingly effective at higher PM loadings resulting from the combined effect of high surface PM emissions and massive secondary PM production within the boundary layer. Our analysis explains why air pollution episodes are particularly serious and severe in megacities and during the days when synoptic weather conditions stay constant.
114 Physical sciences
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: publishedVersion

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