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date: 24 May 2017

Air Pollution and Weather Interaction in East Asia

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. Please check back later for the full article.

Air pollution is one of the grand environmental challenges in developing countries, especially those with high population density like China in East Asia. High concentration of primary and secondary trace gases and particular matters is frequently observed in the industrialized and urbanized regions, causing negative impact to the health of human, plants, and the ecosystem.

Meteorology condition is one of the most important factors influencing day-to-day air quality. Synoptic weather and boundary layer dynamics control dispersion and transport of air pollutants, while main meteorological parameters, such as air temperature, radiation, and relative humidity influence chemical transformation of secondary air pollutants at the same time. Intense air pollution, especially high concentration of radiatively important aerosols, can substantially influence meteorological parameters, boundary layer dynamics, synoptic weather even climate change through their strong radiative feedbacks.

As one of the main monsoon regions, with the most intense human activities in the world, East Asia is a region experiencing complex air pollution, with sources from anthropogenic fossil fuel combustion, biomass burning, dust storm and biogenic emissions. A mixture of these different plumes can cause substantial two-way interactions and feedbacks in the formation of air pollutants under different weather conditions. Improving the understanding of such kind of interactions needs more field measurements using integrated multi-process measurement platforms, and more efforts in numerical model development, especially for those with online coupled processes. All these efforts are very important for policy making from perspectives of environmental protection and mitigation of climate change.