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Atmosphere 2016, 7(3), 38; doi:10.3390/atmos7030038

Effects of Strong East Asian Cold Surges on Improving the Air Quality over Mainland China

1
State Key Laboratory of Loess and Quaternary, Institute of Earth Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xi’an 710061, China
2
College of Earth Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert W. Talbot
Received: 27 December 2015 / Revised: 19 February 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2016 / Published: 10 March 2016
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Abstract

A strong East Asian cold surge (SEACS) is one of the most distinct extreme weather events that can promote an improvement in local air quality. Combining East Asian atmospheric circulation with the air pollution index (API) datasets of 47 major cities throughout mainland China in 11 winter half-years (November–March) during 2001/2002–2011/2012, we investigated the influence of 39 SEACSs in conjunction with air pollution episodes on air quality over mainland China. The results showed that SEACS can cause considerable improvement in air quality and a remarkable decrease in the API over mainland China in up to 4 days after the SEACS outbreak day. The removal efficiency of air pollutants by SEACSs was greater than 30% in north central China, eastern southwest China, and southeast China. The occurrence date of the lowest value of the local API (indicating the best local air quality) can be observed as late day by day from northwest to southeast over mainland China after the SEACS outbreak, indicating a process of gradual improvement in Chinese air quality after the SEACS outbreak. When clean cold air originating from Siberia moves southward into coastal areas of southeastern China, the increase in sea level pressure, the drop in temperature and the enhancement in the northerly wind also tend to progress gradually from north to south over SEACS-affected East Asia. Thus, the “early in the north and late in the south” feature of air quality improvement by SEACSs over mainland China results from the southward movement of cold air masses from high to low latitudes after cold surge outbreaks. View Full-Text
Keywords: cold surge; API; East Asia cold surge; API; East Asia
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, Z.; Liu, X.; Xie, X. Effects of Strong East Asian Cold Surges on Improving the Air Quality over Mainland China. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 38.

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