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Studies on a Severe Dust Storm in East Asia and Its Impact on the Air Quality of Nanjing, China

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Volume: 13 | Issue: 1 | Pages: 179-193
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2012.05.0108
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Xiao-Xian Huang1, Ti-Jian Wang 1, Fei Jiang2, Jing-Biao Liao1, Yan-Feng Cai1, Chang-Qin Yin1, Jia-Lei Zhu1, Yong Han11

  • 1 School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
  • 2 International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China

Abstract

Long-range transport of dust aerosol has severe impact on the atmospheric environment over vast areas. In this study, the features of a severe dust storm and its transport characteristics were investigated during the period from 28 April to 5 May 2011 in East Asia. The combined impact on Nanjing was studied with the observational PM10, PM2.5, visibility and meteorological data, and the numerical models of HYSPLIT and WRF/Chem. This dust storm was caused by a cyclone on 28 April over arid and semiarid areas in Mongolia and China, and then transported to broad downwind areas including northern, central, and eastern parts of China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan. Among the available data, the highest hourly PM10 concentration reached 3.916 mg/m3 at Jinchang site near the source area. In East China, the coastal cities had poorer air quality than inland ones for two days. Dust aerosol arrived at Nanjing from the northwest, and then north, owing to the movement of synoptic system, mixed with local anthropogenic emissions, resulting in the highest PM10 concentration of 0.767 mg/m3 with PM2.5 level reaching 0.222 mg/m3. As the dust storm gradually turned eastward, the dust aerosol went over the seas in the east of the continent and then flowed back to Nanjing. Numerical simulations showed that dust aerosol affecting East China was mainly transported below the altitude of 2.5 km. The vertical profiles of PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations showed maxima at the altitude between 0.2 km and 1.3 km.

Keywords

Dust storm Particulate matter Transport path Hysplit WRF/Chem


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