Journal of Meteorological Research

, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 302–312 | Cite as

Characteristics of Boundary Layer Structure during a Persistent Haze Event in the Central Liaoning City Cluster, Northeast China

  • Xiaolan Li
  • Yangfeng Wang
  • Lidu Shen
  • Hongsheng Zhang
  • Hujia Zhao
  • Yunhai Zhang
  • Yanjun Ma
Special Collection on the Heavy and Persistent Haze-Fog Episodes in Winter 2016/17 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Area of China


The characteristics of boundary layer structure during a persistent regional haze event over the central Liaoning city cluster of Northeast China from 16 to 21 December 2016 were investigated based on the measurements of particulate matter (PM) concentration and the meteorological data within the atmospheric boundary layer (ABL). During the observational period, the maximum hourly mean PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations in Shenyang, Anshan, Fushun, and Benxi ranged from 276 to 355 μg m–3 and from 378 to 442 μg m–3, respectively, and the lowest hourly mean atmospheric visibility (VIS) in different cities ranged from 0.14 to 0.64 km. The central Liaoning city cluster was located in the front of a slowly moving high pressure and was mainly controlled by southerly winds. Wind speed (WS) within the ABL (< 2 km) decreased significantly and WS at 10-m height mostly remained below 2 m s–1 during the hazy episodes, which was favorable for the accumulation of air pollutants. A potential temperature inversion layer existed throughout the entire ABL during the earlier hazy episode [from 0500 Local Time (LT) 18 December to 1100 LT 19 December], and then a potential temperature inversion layer developed with the bottom gradually decreased from 900 m to 300 m. Such a stable atmospheric stratification further weakened pollutant dispersion. The atmospheric boundary layer height (ABLH) estimated based on potential temperature profiles was mostly lower than 400 m and varied oppositely with PM2.5 in Shenyang. In summary, weak winds due to calm synoptic conditions, strong thermal inversion layer, and shallow atmospheric boundary layer contributed to the formation and development of this haze event. The backward trajectory analysis revealed the sources of air masses and explained the different characteristics of the haze episodes in the four cities.

Key words

haze event thermal inversion layer atmospheric boundary layer Northeast China 


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Meteorological Society and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaolan Li
    • 1
  • Yangfeng Wang
    • 1
  • Lidu Shen
    • 2
  • Hongsheng Zhang
    • 3
  • Hujia Zhao
    • 1
  • Yunhai Zhang
    • 1
  • Yanjun Ma
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Atmospheric EnvironmentChina Meteorological AdministrationShenyangChina
  2. 2.Shenyang Regional Climatic CenterShenyangChina
  3. 3.Laboratory for Climate and Ocean–Atmosphere Studies, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic SciencesSchool of Physics, Peking UniversityBeijingChina

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