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Hazy weather formation and visibility deterioration resulted from fine particulate (PM2.5) pollutions in Guangdong and Hong Kong

By D. Wu, A.K.-H. Lau, Y. Leung, X. Bi, F. Li, H. Tan, B. Liao and H. Chen

Abstract

In order to investigate the environmental effects of fine particulate aerosols (PM2.5)in the Pearl River Delta (PRD), long-term meteorological data and high-resolution of atmospheric composition observations in the PRD and Hong Kong, as well as satellite-based Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) data, were used to analyze the long-term variation trends of PM2.5-induced haze weather formation and visibility deterioration. The results indicated that the pollution of aerosols worsened over the PRD in recent years. The cloud of aerosol occurred all year round, with an area of heavy pollution located in the western side of the Pearl River Estuary. The haze weather mainly occurred from October to next April, resulting in visibility deterioration. Since the beginning of the 1980s, the frequency of hazy weather obviously increased and visibility dramatically deteriorated over the PRD. There were three major visibility deterioration fluctuations accompanied with the development of economy, arising from dust pollution, the sulphate and dust pollution, and the dust, sulphate, and automobile exhaust pollution caused by photochemical process, respectively. There was no indication that the long-term tendency of fog and light fog days was affected by human activities or economical development, and its fluctuation was governed by the intrinsically inter-annual and inter-decadal variations of climate. The deterioration of visibility was strongly associated with fine particle pollutions over the PRD. Half of monthly mean PM10 observations exceeded the mean critical value of national second graded standard (70 μg·m-3), and all of mean PM2.5 values exceeded the mean critical value of U.S. national standard (35 μg·m-3). Some mean values of PM2.5 almost reached twice the standard value, indicating high fine particle concentrations. The ratio of PM2.5 to PM10 was also very high about 51%~79%. Monthly mean black carbon aerosol concentration was up to 5.0~9.1 μg·m-3. Therefore, the current aerosol pollution over the Guangdong and Hong Kong is featured by significant fine particle pollution, in particular the black carbon pollution. Compared to observations data 20 years ago, the ratio of fine particles has obviously increased

Topics: Black carbon, Fine particle pollution, Guangdong and Hong Kong, Hazy weather, Visibility deterioration
Year: 2012
OAI identifier: oai:repository.ust.hk:1783.1-55966
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