Climate modulation of the Tibetan Plateau on haze in China

X. Xu, T. Zhao, F. Liu, S. L. Gong, D. Kristovich, C. Lu, Y. Guo, X. Cheng, Y. Wang, G. Ding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rapid increases in pollutant emissions in conjunction with stagnant meteorological conditions result in haze pollution in China. Recent frequent haze in China has attracted worldwide attention. Here we show a relationship between the haze events and Tibetan Plateau (TP)'s environment and climate changes. Based on observational data taken over recent decades, we identify central-eastern China (CEC) as a climatological large-scale "susceptible region" of frequent haze, which is harbored by the TP with its impact on midlatitude westerly winds. The observational and modeling studies demonstrate that the interannual variations in the thermal forcing of TP are positively correlated with the incidences of wintertime haze over CEC. Further analysis indicates that the climate warming of the TP induced changes in atmospheric circulation, driving frequent haze events in CEC. The frequent haze occurrences in CEC are consistent with decreasing winter monsoon winds, intensifying downward air flows and increasing atmospheric stability in the lower troposphere over the CEC in association with upstream plateau's thermal anomalies. Therefore, variations of haze in China are related to mechanical and thermal forcing by the TP. Our results also suggest that implications of the large TP topography for environment and climate changes should be taken into account for air pollution mitigation policies in China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1375
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 8 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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