In the Beijing area, March and April have the highest frequency of sand-dust weather. Floating dust, blowing sand, and dust storms, primarily from Mongolia, account for 71%, 20%, and 9% of sand-dust weather, respectively. Ambient air monitoring and analysis of recent meteorological data from Beijing sand-dust storm periods revealed that PM10 mass concentrations during dust storm events remained at 1500 μg m−3, which is five to ten times higher than during non-dust storm periods, for fourteen hours on both April 6 and 25, 2000. During the same period, the concentrations in urban areas were comparable to those in suburban areas, while the concentrations of gaseous pollutants, such as SO2, NO x , NO2, and O3, remained at low levels, owing to strong winds. Furthermore, during sand-dust storm periods, aerosols were created that consisted not only of many coarse particles, but also of a large quantity of fine particles. The PM2.5 concentration was approximately 230 μg m−3, accounting for 28% of the total PM10 mass concentration. Crustal elements accounted for 60–70% of the chemical composition of PM2.5, and sulfate and nitrate for much less, unlike the chemical composition of PM2.5 on pollution days, which was primarily composed of sulfates, nitrates, and organic material. Although the very large particle specific surface area provided by dust storms would normally be conducive to heterogeneous reactions, the conversion rate from SO2 to SO4 2− was very low, because the relative humidity, less than 30%, was not high enough.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Cheng, G. T.: 2001, ‘History of strong dust storms in beijing and ecological environmental change in nearby regions’, Journal of Desert Research 21(4), 402–407 (in Chinese).
Duce, R. A., Unni, C. K. and Ray, B. J.: 1980, ‘Long range atmospheric transport of soil dust from Asia to tropical North Pacific: Temporal variability’, Science 209, 1522–1524.
Fang, G.-C., Chang, C.-N., Wu, Y.-S., Lu, S.-C., Fu, P. P.-C., Chang, S.-C., Cheng, C.-D. and Yuen, W.-H.: 2002, ‘Concentration of atmospheric particulates during a dust storm period in taichung, central Taiwan’, The Science of the Total Environment 287, 141–145.
Fang, X. Q., Li, L. J. and Xie, Y.: 2003, ‘Differences in air pollution during the dust storm process in beijing’, Journal of Beijing Normal University (Natural Science), 407–411 (in Chinese).
Gao, Q. X., Li, L. J., Zhang, Y. G and Hu, M.: 2000, ‘Studies on the springtime dust storms of China’, China Environmental Science 20(6), 495–500 (in Chinese).
Gao, Q. X., Su, F. Q., Ren, Z. H., Zhang, Z. G. and Wang, Y. T.: 2002, ‘The dust weather of Beijing and its impact’, China Environmental Science 22(5), 468–471 (in Chinese).
Gao, Y., Arimoto, R. and Zhou, M. Y.: 1992, ‘Relationship between the dust concentrations over Eastern Asia and the remote North Pacific’, J. Geophys. Res. 97, 9867–9872.
Li, F. and Lu, D.: 1997, ‘Features of aerosol optical depth with visibility grade over beijing’, Atmospheric Environment 31(20), 3413–3419.
Liu, Y. and Zhou, M. Y.: 1999, ‘The internal variation of mineral aerosols in the surface air over beijing and the East China Sea’, Acta Scientiae Circumstantiae 19(6), 642–647.
Lu, M. and Pu, J. P.: 2002, ‘Analysis of two synoptic processes of sand storms in 2002’, Scientia Meteorological Sinica 22(2), 210–217 (in Chinese).
Ma, C.-J., Kasahara, M., Höller, R. and Kamiya, T., 2001, ‘Characteristics of single particles sampled in Japan during the Asian dust-storm period’, Atmospheric Environment 35, 2707–2714.
Marcazzan, G. M., Vaccaro, S, Valli, G. and Vecchi, R.: 2001, ‘Characterization of PM10 and PM2.5 particulate matter in the ambient air of Milan (Italy)’, Atmospheric Environment 35, 4639–4650.
Natsagdorj, L., Jugder, D. and Chung, Y. S.: 2003, ‘Analysis of dust storms observed in Mongolia during 1937–1999’, Atmospheric Environment 37, 1401–1411.
Park, M. H., Kim, Y. P. and Kang C. H., 2003, ‘Aerosol composition change due to dust storm: Measurements between 1992 and 1999 at gosan, korea’, Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 3, 117–128.
Qiu, J. and Yang, L., 1999, ‘Variation characteristics of atmospheric aerosol optical depths and visibility in North China during 1980–1994’, Atmospheric Environment 34(4), 603–609.
Uematsu, M., Duce, R. A. and Prospero, J. M.: 1983, ‘Transport of mineral aerosol from Asia over the North Pacific Ocean’, J. Geophys. Res. 88, 5343–5352.
Wang, W., Yue, X., Liu, H., Pan, Z., Tang, D. G., Wang, Y., Du, R. G, Su, H. M., Qian, F. and Sakamoto, K.: 2002, ‘Study on pollution characteristics of aerosols during sand-dust storm weather in Beijing’, Acta Scientiae Circumstantiae 22(4), 494–498 (in Chinese).
Yang, D. Z., Yan, P. and Xu, X. D.: 2002, ‘Characteristics of aerosols under dust and sand weather in Beijing’, Journal of Applied Meteorological Science 13, 185–194 (in Chinese).
Zhang, R. J., Wang, M. X., Pu, Y. F., Liu, Q., Fu, J. Z. and Zhang, W.: 2001, ‘Analysis of the chemical and physical properties of the “2000.4.6” super dust storm in Beijing’, Climatic and Environmental Research 5(3), 259–266 (in Chinese).
Zhou, M. Y., Qu, S. H., Song, X. M.: 1981, ‘Aerosol characteristics in sand-dust storm process in the Beijing Region’, Chinese Science Bulletin 4(1), 609–611.
Zhuang, G. S., Guo, J. H., Yuan, H. and Zhao, C. Y.: 2001, ‘The compositions, sources, and size distribution of dust storms from China in the spring of 2000 and their impact on the global environment’, Chinese Science Bulletin 46(11), 895–901.
About this article
Cite this article
Xie, S., Li Qi, Y.Z. & Tang, X. Characteristics of air pollution in Beijing during sand-dust storm periods. Water Air Soil Pollut: Focus 5, 217–229 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11267-005-0737-9
- dust storm
- air quality
- aerosol composition
- particulate matter