Atmospheric environment

Influence of different weather events on concentrations of particulate matter with different sizes in Lanzhou, China

Xinyuan Feng , Shigong Wang


Received May 23, 2011,Revised November 24, 2011, Accepted , Available online April 06, 2012

Volume 24,2012,Pages 665-674

The formation and development of weather events has a great impact on the diffusion, accumulation and transport of air pollutants, and causes great changes in the particulate pollution level. It is very important to study their influence on particulate pollution. Lanzhou is one of the most particulate-polluted cities in China and even in the world. Particulate matter (PM) including TSP, PM>10, PM2.5-10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 concentrations were simultaneously measured during 2005-2007 in Lanzhou to evaluate the influence of three kinds of weather events - dust, precipitation and cold front - on the concentrations of PM with different sizes and detect the temporal evolution. The main results are as follows: (1) the PM pollution in Lanzhou during dust events was very heavy and the rate of increase in the concentration of PM2.5-10 was the highest of the five kinds of particles. During dust-storm events, the highest peaks of the concentrations of fine particles (PM2.5 and PM1.0) occurred 3 hr later than those of coarse particles (PM>10 and PM2.5-10). (2) The major effect of precipitation events on PM is wet scavenging. The scavenging rates of particles were closely associated with the kinds of precipitation events. The scavenging rates of TSP, PM>10 and PM2.5-10 by convective precipitation were several times as high as those caused by frontal precipitation for the same precipitation amount, the reason being the different formation mechanism and precipitation characteristics of the two kinds of precipitation. Moreover, there exists a limiting value for the scavenging rates of particles by precipitation. (3) The major effect of cold-front events on particles is clearance. However, during cold-front passages, the PM concentrations could sometimes rise first and decrease afterwards, which is the critical difference in the influence of cold fronts on the concentrations of particulate pollutants vs. gaseous pollutants.

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