An Ozone “Pool” in South China: Investigations on Atmospheric Dynamics and Photochemical Processes Over the Pearl River Estuary

Yangzong Zeren, Hai Guo*, Xiaopu Lyu*, Fei Jiang, Yu Wang, Xufei Liu, Lewei Zeng, Mei Li, Lei Li

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Pearl River Estuary (PRE) has been recognized as one of the key areas in South China experiencing severe air pollution. To understand the photochemical pollution over PRE, intensive measurements of O3 and its precursors were simultaneously conducted at a suburban site on the east bank of PRE (Tung Chung, TC) in Hong Kong and a rural site on the west bank (Qi'ao Island, QAI) in Zhuhai from 25 September to 29 November 2016. Three and sixteen O3 episode days (days with the maximum hourly O3 higher than 100 ppbv) were captured at TC and QAI, respectively. On the three days when O3 episodes occurred at TC, QAI also suffered from O3 episodes, which were all associated with tropical cyclones (typhoons). As a downwind site of PRE when northwesterly winds prevailed, TC displayed a higher maximum hourly O3 than QAI on these three days. In contrast, the other thirteen episodes that solely occurred at QAI were generally under northeasterly winds, which brought more coastal air to TC and led to lower levels of O3 at this site. In addition, the stronger titration of the locally emitted NO to O3 also accounted for the lower O3 at TC on these days. The simulations by Weather Research and Forecasting coupled with Chemistry model indicated that the interactions of synoptic winds and mesoscale breezes led to relatively weak winds and long residence time for air pollutants over the PRE, thereby air pollution accumulation. This provided the likelihood of intensive chemical productions of O3 over PRE, with the production rates even higher than those in the surrounding land areas. As such, it was concluded that PRE was a “pool” of O3, where atmospheric dynamics caused the accumulation of air pollutants and subsequently intensive photochemical reactions. The findings in this study may also apply to the other estuaries connecting terrestrial and marine systems over the world.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12340-12355
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
    Issue number22
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2019

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Atmospheric Science
    • Geophysics
    • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
    • Space and Planetary Science


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