Different trends between extreme and median surface aerosol extinction coefficients over China inferred from quality controlled visibility data
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
Although the temporal changes of aerosol properties have been widely investigated, the majority focused on the averaged condition without much emphasis on the extremes. However, the latter can be more important in terms of human health and climate change. This study uses a previously validated, quality-controlled visibility dataset to investigate the long-term trends of extreme surface aerosol extinction coefficient (AEC) over China, and compare them with the median trends. Two methods are used
... wo methods are used to independently evaluate the trends, which arrive at consistent results. The sign of extreme and median trends are generally coherent, whereas their magnitudes show distinct spatial and temporal differences. In the 1980s, an overall positive trend is found throughout China with the extreme trend exceeding the mean trend, except for Northwest China and the North China Plain. In the 1990s, AEC over Northeast and Northwest China starts to decline while the rest of the country still exhibits an increase. The extreme trends continue to dominate in the south while it yields to the mean trend in the north. After year 2000, the extreme trend becomes weaker than the mean trend overall in terms of both the magnitude and significance level. The annual trend can be primarily attributed to winter and fall trends. The results suggest that the decadal changes of pollution in China may be governed by different mechanisms. Synoptic conditions that often result in extreme air quality changes might dominate in the 1980s, whereas emission increase might be the main factor for the 2000s.