1State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China
2State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
3College of Civil Aviation, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing, 210016, China
4State Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Boundary Layer Physics and Atmospheric Chemistry, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100029, China
5School of Physics, Peking University, Beijing, 100871, China
Abstract. The main objective of this study is to investigate the formation and evolution mechanism of the regional haze in megacity Beijing by analyzing the process of a severe haze that occurred 20–27 September 2011. Mass concentration and size distribution of aerosol particles as well as aerosol optical properties were concurrently measured at the Beijing urban atmospheric environment monitoring station. Gaseous pollutants (SO2, NO-NO2-NOx, O3, CO) and meteorological parameters (wind speed, wind direction, and relative humidity) were simultaneously monitored. Meanwhile, aerosol spatial distribution and the height of planetary boundary layer (PBL) were retrieved from the signal of satellite and LIDAR (light detection and ranging). Concentrations of NO, NO2, SO2, O3, and CO observed during 23–27 September had exceeded the national ambient air quality standards for residents. The mass concentration of PM2.5 gradually accumulated during the measurement and reached at 220 μg m−3 on 26 September, and the corresponding atmospheric visibility was only 1.1 km. The daily averaged AOD in Beijing increased from ~ 0.16 at λ = 500 nm on 22 September and reached ~ 3.5 on 26 September. The key factors that affected the formation and evolution of this haze episode were stable anti-cyclone synoptic conditions at the surface, decreasing of the height of PBL, heavy pollution emissions from urban area, number and size evolution of aerosols, and hygroscopic growth for aerosol scattering. This case study may provide valuable information for the public to recognize the formation mechanism of the regional haze event over the megacity, which is also useful for the government to adopt scientific approach to forecast and eliminate the occurrence of regional haze in China.