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Title: Precipitation and Air Pollution at Mountain and Plain Stations in Northern China: Insights Gained from Observations and Modeling

We analyzed 40 year data sets of daily average visibility (a proxy for surface aerosol concentration) and hourly precipitation at seven weather stations, including three stations located on the Taihang Mountains, during the summertime in northern China. There was no significant trend in summertime total precipitation at almost all stations. However, light rain decreased, whereas heavy rain increased as visibility decreased over the period studied. The decrease in light rain was seen in both orographic-forced shallow clouds and mesoscale stratiform clouds. The consistent trends in observed changes in visibility, precipitation, and orographic factor appear to be a testimony to the effects of aerosols. The potential impact of large-scale environmental factors, such as precipitable water, convective available potential energy, and vertical wind shear, on precipitation was investigated. No direct links were found. To validate our observational hypothesis about aerosol effects, Weather Research and Forecasting model simulations with spectral-bin microphysics at the cloud-resolving scale were conducted. Model results confirmed the role of aerosol indirect effects in reducing the light rain amount and frequency in the mountainous area for both orographic-forced shallow clouds and mesoscale stratiform clouds and in eliciting a different response in the neighboring plains. The opposite response of light rainmore » to the increase in pollution when there is no terrain included in the model suggests that orography is likely a significant factor contributing to the opposite trends in light rain seen in mountainous and plain areas.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: Journal of Geophysical Research. D. (Atmospheres), 119(8):4793–4807
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
precipitation; air pollution; mountain; northern China; observations; modeling