Vertical structures of PM10and PM2.5and their dynamical character in low atmosphere in Beijing urban areas

Guoan Ding, Chuenyu Chan, Zhiqiu Gao, Wenqing Yao, Yok Sheung Li, Xinghong Cheng, Zhaoyang Meng, Haiqing Yu, Kamhang Wong, Shufeng Wang, Qiuju Miao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


The vertical structures and their dynamical character of PM2.5and PM10over Beijing urban areas are revealed using the 1 min mean continuous mass concentration data of PM2.5and PM10at 8, 100, and 320 m heights of the meteorological observation tower of 325 m at Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAP CAS tower hereafter) on 10-26 August, 2003, as well as the daily mean mass concentration data of PM2.5and PM10and the continuous data of CO and NO2at 8, 100 (low layer), 200 (middle layer), and 320 m (high layer) heights, in combination with the same period meteorological field observation data of the meteorological tower. The vertical distributions of aerosols observed on IAP CAS tower in Beijing can be roughly divided into two patterns: gradually and rapidly decreasing patterns, i.e. the vertical distribution of aerosols in calm weather or on pollution day belongs to the gradually decreasing pattern, while one on clean day or weak cold air day belongs to the rapidly decreasing pattern. The vertical distributive characters of aerosols were closely related with the dynamical/thermal structure and turbulence character of the atmosphere boundary layer. On the clean day, the low layer PM2.5and PM10concentrations were close to those at 8 m height, while the concentrations rapidly decreased at the high layer, and their values were only one half of those at 8 m, especially, the concentration of PM2.5dropped even more. On the clean day, there existed stronger turbulence below 150 m, aerosols were well mixed, but blocked by the more stronger inversion layer aloft, and meanwhile, at various heights, especially in the high layer, the horizontal wind speed was larger, resulting in the rapid decrease of aerosol concentration, i.e. resulting in the obvious vertical difference of aerosol concentrations between the low and high layers. On the pollution day, the concentrations of PM2.5and PM10at the low, middle, and high layers dropped successively by, on average, about 10% for each layer in comparison with those at 8 m height. On pollution days, in company with the low wind speed, there existed two shallow inversion layers in the boundary layer, but aerosols might be, to some extent, mixed below the inversion layer, therefore, on the pollution day the concentrations of PM2.5and PM10dropped with height slowly; and the observational results also show that the concentrations at 320 m height were obviously high under SW and SE winds, but at other heights, the concentrations were not correlated with wind directions. The computational results of footprint analysis suggest that this was due to the fact that the 320 m height was impacted by the pollutants transfer of southerly flow from the southern peripheral heavier polluted areas, such as Baoding, and Shijiazhuang of Hebei Province, Tianjin, and Shandong Province, etc., while the low layer was only affected by Beijing's local pollution source. The computational results of power spectra and periods preliminarily reveal that under the condition of calm weather, the periods of PM10concentration at various heights of the tower were on the order of minutes, while in cases of larger wind speed, the concentrations of PM2.5and PM10at 320 m height not only had the short periods of minute-order, but also the longer periods of hour order. Consistent with the conclusion previously drawn by Ding et al., that air pollutants at different heights and at different sites in Beijing had the character of "in-phase" variation, was also observed for the diurnal variation and mean diurnal variation of PM2.5and PM10at various heights of the tower in this experiment, again confirming the "in-phase" temporal/spatial distributive character of air pollutants in the urban canopy of Beijing. The gentle double-peak character of the mean diurnal variation of PM2.5and PM10was closely related with the evident/similar diurnal variation of turbulent momentum fluxes, sensible heat fluxes, and turbulent kinetic energy at various heights in the urban canopy. Besides, under the condition of calm weather, the concentration of PM2.5and PM10declined with height slowly, it was 90% of 8 m concentration at the low layer, a little lesser than 90% at the middle layer, and 80% at the high layer, respectively. Under the condition of weak cold air weather, the concentration remarkably dropped with height, it was 70% of 8 m concentration at the low layer, and 20%-30% at the middle and high layers, especially the concentration of PM2.5was even lower.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-54
Number of pages17
JournalScience in China, Series D: Earth Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL.2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


  • Dynamical character
  • Footprint analysis
  • Mass concentration
  • PM 10
  • PM 2.5
  • Vertical structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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