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Deteriorating Haze Situation and the Severe Haze Episode During December 18-25 of 2013 in Xi'an, China, the Worst Event on Record
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Title

Deteriorating haze situation and the severe haze episode during December 18-25 of 2013 in Xi'an, China, the worst event on record

Authors

Liu, XD; Hui, Y; Yin, ZY; Wang, ZS; Xie, XN; Fang, JG

Abstract

Frequent occurrence of haze weather has been considered an urgent environmental problem in China and has attracted much attention worldwide in recent years. In this study, we examined the trend in the occurrence of haze days based on horizontal visibility in Xi'an, a major city in central China, since 2000. There were 49 haze days per year on average in Xi'an during 2000-2013, and the number of haze days has increased significantly since 2008, reaching 102 days in 2013. December is the month of the highest frequency of occurrence. During December 18-25 of 2013, the longest-lasting and most severe haze event in the recent decades occurred. The 8-day mean visibility in Xi'an was only 2.5 km with 5 days below 2 km. The mean air quality index in Xi'an during this period was 486.5, and in four of those days, it reached or exceeded the index's upper limit of 500. The exceptionally high level of PM2.5 concentration was inferred as the main reason of this severe haze episode. The local weather conditions were characterized by weak winds, enhanced atmospheric stability, and high relative humidity. Strong mid-tropospheric zonal flows in combination with weakened East Asian winter monsoon limited the cold air invasion from the higher latitudes, creating a condition of low pressure gradients in the lower troposphere and near the surface for a large region in central and eastern China. With high background emission levels, the suppressed dispersion of air pollutants eventually caused this severe haze episode affecting a large region in China.

Corresponding author

Liu Xiaodong

Volume

125

Issue

1-2

Page

321-335

Pub year

July, 2016

Publication name

Theoretical and Applied Climatology

Details

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00704-015-1509-8

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