S41 Relationships between the planetary boundary layer height and surface pollutants derived from lidar observations over China: regional pattern and influencing factors

Sunday, 6 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Tianning Su, Univ. of Maryland, College Park, College Park, MD; and Z. Li and R. Kahn

The frequent occurrence of severe air pollution episodes in China has been a great concern and thus the focus of intensive studies. Planetary boundary layer height (PBLH) is a key factor in the vertical mixing and dilution of near-surface pollutants. However, the relationship between PBLH and surface pollutants, especially particulate matter (PM) concentration across China is not yet well understood. We investigate this issue at ~1600 surface stations using PBLH derived from space-borne and ground-based lidar, and discuss the influence of topography and meteorological variables on the PBLH-PM relationship. Albeit the PBLH-PM correlations are roughly negative for most cases, their magnitude, significance, and even sign vary considerably with location, season, and meteorological conditions. Weak or even uncorrelated PBLH-PM relationships are found over clean regions (e.g. Pearl River Delta), whereas nonlinearly negative responses of PM to PBLH evolution are found over polluted regions (e.g. North China Plain). Relatively strong PBLH-PM interactions are found when the PBLH is shallow and PM concentration is high, which typically corresponds to wintertime cases. Correlations are much weaker over the highlands than the plains regions, which may be associated with lighter pollution loading at higher elevations and contributions from mountain breezes. The influence of horizontal transport on surface PM is considered as well, manifested as a negative correlation between surface PM and wind speed over the whole nation. Strong wind with clean upwind sources plays a dominant role in removing pollutants, and leads to obscure PBLH-PM relationships. A ventilation rate is used to jointly consider horizontal and vertical dispersion, which has the largest impact on surface pollutant accumulation over the North China Plain. As such, this study contributes to improved understanding of aerosol-PBL interactions and thus our capability of forecasting surface air pollutants.
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