Analyzing the Effects of Dust on Atmospheric Composition over Northwestern China in Spring 2008 Using WRF-Chem

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Jing Wang1, Dale J Allen1, Kenneth E Pickering2 and Zhanqing Li1,3, (1)University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Cent, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (3)Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, United States
Adjacent to the Taklimakan and Gobi deserts, northwestern China experiences dust storms frequently during the spring season. With the population and industry in northwestern China growing rapidly, anthropogenic pollution also impacts the aerosol composition and therefore optical properties and radiative effects. For instance, NOx emissions from Gansu province increased from ~195 Gg/yr in 2000 to ~323 Gg/yr in 2006 due to the fast growth of transportation vehicles, while SO2 emissions dropped from ~439 Gg/yr to ~338 Gg/yr because flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) devices are widely used in coal-fired powerplants. The WRF-Chem model with CBMZ chemistry mechanism, MOSAIC 8-bins aerosol module and GOCART dust emission algorithm, is applied to simulate the processes responsible for temporal changes in the aerosol distribution, aerosol optical properties and size distribution in Northwestern China due to the impact of dust and anthropogenic emissions during spring 2008, a time period during which an intensive field campaign was conducted at the Zhangye National Climate Observatory (39.082°N, 100.276°E, 1460 m above sea level) of the China Meteorological Administration. This field campaign provided observations of meteorological fields, radiative fluxes, trace gases concentrations, aerosol optical properties, and aerosol size distributions to evaluate the model simulation. The observational data showed a pronounced diurnal variation of trace gases and aerosols: low in the afternoon and high in the morning. Elevated pollutant levels were observed in several dust storms during this campaign. We will investigate the atmospheric processes that are responsible for the atmospheric composition, and assess the relative impact of dust and anthropogenic emissions on local air quality.