04 Sep 2023
 | 04 Sep 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion and under review for Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Extreme Weather exacerbates Ozone Pollution in the Pearl River Delta, China: Role of Natural Processes

Nan Wang, Hongyue Wang, Xin Huang, Xi Chen, Xiaopu Lyu, Yu Zou, Tao Deng, Tingyuan Li, and Fumo Yang

Abstract. Ozone (O3) pollution research and management in China have mainly focused on anthropogenic emissions, while the importance of natural processes is often overlooked. With the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, the role of natural processes in exacerbating O3 pollution is gaining attention. In September 2022, the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in South China experienced an extended period (25 days) of regional O3 exceedances and high temperatures (2nd highest over last 2 decades) due to extreme weather conditions influenced by the Subtropical High and typhoon peripheries. Employing an integrated approach involving field measurements, machine learning, and numerical model simulations, we investigated the impact of weather-induced natural processes on O3 pollution by considering meteorological factors, natural emissions, chemistry pathways, and atmospheric transport. It was found that the hot weather significantly promoted regional photochemical reactions, with meteorological factors contributing to an additional 10.8 ppb of O3 levels compared to normal conditions. Temperature was identified as the dominant factor influencing O3 pollution. The hot weather also intensified the emission of biogenic volatile organic compounds by ~10 %. Notably, isoprene and biogenic formaldehyde accounted for about half of the in-situ O3 production. The chemical mechanism of isoprene contributing to O3 formation was further explored, with O3 production more attributable to the further degradation of early generation isoprene oxidation products than the direct isoprene oxidation itself. Furthermore, the typhoon nearing landfall significantly enhanced the cross-regional transport of O3 from northern to southern China through stratosphere-to-troposphere exchange (STE). The CAM-Chem model simulations revealed that the STE-induced O3 on the PRD surface could reach a maximum of ~ 8 ppb, highlighting the non-negligible impact of STE. This study highlights the importance of natural processes exacerbated by extreme weather events in O3 pollution and provides valuable insights for O3 pollution control under global warming.

Nan Wang et al.

Status: open (until 16 Oct 2023)

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Nan Wang et al.


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Short summary
This study explores the influence of extreme weather-induced natural processes on ozone pollution, which is often overlooked. By analyzing meteorological factors, natural emissions, chemistry pathways, and atmospheric transport, we discovered that these natural processes could substantially exacerbate ozone pollution. The findings contribute to a deeper understanding of ozone pollution and offer valuable insights for controlling ozone pollution in the context of global warming.