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Influence of dust storms on atmospheric particulate pollution and acid rain in northern China

Abstract

Northern China is the area with the highest incidence of dust storms in the world, which are the main sources of its soil dust emissions. In addition, the region consumes huge amounts of fossil fuels and has serious atmospheric particulate pollution. Existing observation results show that a single dust storm has significant influence on atmospheric particulate pollutant concentrations and precipitation acidity. Proving the influence of dust storms on atmospheric particulate pollution, acid rain, and the acid rain ratio and determining whether there is a causal relationship among them on a longer time scale will help us recognize the impact of dust storms on the atmospheric environment. This paper proves that dust storms are the direct cause of the variations in the number of acid rain days and acid rain ratio, as well as the changes in atmospheric particulate pollution, in spring by using the Granger Causality Test and correlation analysis methods based on 1993 to 2007 data, including the number of days of dust storms, atmospheric particulate pollution, and acid rain. Atmospheric particulate pollution is the direct cause of variations in the number of acid rain days and the acid rain ratio in spring; for the other seasons, additional data combined with atmospheric particulate pollution are needed to explain the causes of the acid rain day and ratio changes.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the Key Program of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41330746), Fund for Creative Research Groups of National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41321001), and the program of China Equipment and Education Resources System (Grant No. CERS-1-109). The authors greatly appreciate the assistance of English Language Editing Services from Elsevier Webshop Support for the language editing.

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Correspondence to Jifeng Li.

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Wang, R., Li, J., Wang, J. et al. Influence of dust storms on atmospheric particulate pollution and acid rain in northern China. Air Qual Atmos Health 10, 297–306 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11869-016-0421-4

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Keywords

  • Granger Causality Test
  • Correlation analysis
  • Dust storm
  • Atmospheric particulate pollutant
  • Acid rain