Vertical profiles of the transport fluxes of aerosol and its precursors between Beijing and its southwest cities

Qihou Hu, Cheng Liu*, Qihua Li, Ting Liu, Xiangguang Ji, Yizhi Zhu, Chengzhi Xing, Haoran Liu, Wei Tan, Meng Gao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of regional transport on aerosol pollution has been explored in previous studies based on numerical simulation or surface observation. Nevertheless, owing to inhomogeneous vertical distribution of air pollutants, vertical observations should be conducted for a comprehensive understanding of regional transport. Here we obtained the vertical profiles of aerosol and its precursors using ground-based multi-axis differential optical absorption spectroscopy (MAX-DOAS) at the Nancheng site in suburban Beijing on the southwest transport pathway of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region, China, and then estimated the vertical profiles of transport fluxes in the southwest-northeast direction. The maximum net transport fluxes per unit cross-sectional area, calculated as pollutant concentration multiply by wind speed, of aerosol extinction coefficient (AEC), NO2, SO2 and HCHO were 0.98 km−1 m s−1, 24, 14 and 8.0 μg m−2 s−1 from southwest to northeast, which occurred in the 200–300 m, 100–200 m, 500–600 m and 500–600 m layers, respectively, due to much higher pollutant concentrations during southwest transport than during northeast transport in these layers. The average net column transport fluxes were 1200 km−1 m2 s−1, 38, 26 and 15 mg m−1 s−1 from southwest to northeast for AEC, NO2, SO2 and HCHO, respectively, in which the fluxes in the surface layer (0–100 m) accounted for only 2.3%–4.2%. Evaluation only based on surface observation would underestimate the influence of the transport from southwest cities to Beijing. Northeast or weak southwest transports dominated in clean conditions with PM2.5 <75 μg m−3 and intense southwest transport dominated in polluted conditions with PM2.5 >75 μg m−3. Southwest transport through the middle boundary layer was a trigger factor for aerosol pollution events in urban Beijing, because it not only directly bringing air pollutants, but also induced an inverse structure of aerosols, which resulted in stronger atmospheric stability and aggravated air pollution in urban Beijing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119988
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aerosol
  • Flux
  • Gaseous pollutant
  • Regional transport
  • Vertical profile
  • Environmental Monitoring/methods
  • Nitrogen Dioxide/analysis
  • Aerosols/analysis
  • Air Pollution/analysis
  • Beijing
  • Air Pollutants/analysis
  • China
  • Particulate Matter/analysis
  • Cities


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