The climate impact on atmospheric stagnation and capability of stagnation indices in elucidating the haze events over North China Plain and Northeast China

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Atmospheric Sciences


In this study, the spatial pattern and temporal evolution of PM2.5 over North China Plain (NCP) and Northeast China (NEC) during 2014–2018 was investigated. The annual mean PM2.5 shows clear decreasing trends over time, but the seasonal mean PM2.5 as well as the seasonal total duration and frequency of haze days shows large inter-annual fluctuation. Based on the atmospheric stagnation index (ASI), this study examined the correlation between ASI and haze events over NCP and NEC. Detailed analysis indicates that location dependency exists of ASI in the capability of capturing the haze events, and the ability is limited in NCP. Therefore, we first propose two alternative methods in defining the ASI to either account for the lag effect or enlarge the threshold value of wind speed at 500 hPa. The new methods can improve the ability of ASI to explain the haze events over NEC, though marginal improvement was achieved in NCP. Furthermore, this study constructed the equation based on the boundary layer height and wind speed at 10-meter, apparently improving the ability in haze capture rate (HCR), a ratio of haze days during the stagnation to the total haze days. Based on a multi-model ensemble analyses under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5, we found that by the end of this century, climate change may lead to increases in both the duration and frequency of wintertime stagnation events over NCP. In contrast, the models predict a decrease in stagnant events and the total duration of stagnation in winter over NEC.

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