Date of this Version
Environ. Res. Lett. 11 (2016) 054019
Widespread haze layers usually cover China like low clouds, exerting marked influence on air quality and regional climate. With recent Collection 6 MODISDeep Blue aerosol data in 2000–2015, we analyzed the trends of regional haze pollution and the corresponding influence of atmospheric circulation in China. Satellite observations show that regional haze pollution is mainly concentrated in northern and central China. The annual frequency of regional haze in northern China nearly doubles between 2000 and 2006, increasing from30–50 to 80–90 days. Though there is amarked decrease in annual frequency during 2007–2009 due to both reduction of anthropogenic emissions and changes of meteorological conditions, regional pollution increases slowly but steadily after 2009, and maintains at a high level of 70–90 days except for the sudden decrease in 2015. Generally, there is a large increase in the number of regional-scale haze events during the last decade. Seasonal frequency of regional haze exhibits distinct spatial and temporal variations. The increasing winter haze events reach a peak in 2014, but decrease strongly in 2015 due partly to synoptic conditions that are favorable for dispersion. Trends of summer regional haze pollution aremore sensitive to changes of atmospheric circulation. Our results indicate that the frequency of regional haze events is associated not only with the strength of atmospheric circulation, but also with its direction and position, as well as variations in anthropogenic emissions.