Yang, SH; Jeong, JI; Park, RJ; Kim, MJ (2020). Impact of Meteorological Changes on Particulate Matter and Aerosol Optical Depth in Seoul during the Months of June over Recent Decades. ATMOSPHERE, 11(12), 1282.

The effects of meteorological changes on particulate matter with a diameter of 10 microns or less (PM10, referred to as PM in this study) and aerosol optical depth (AOD) in Seoul were investigated using observational and modeling analysis. AOD satellite data were used, obtained from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), and PM concentration data were used from in-situ observations. The Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) and MERRA Version 2 (MERRA-2) were used for meteorological field analysis in modeling and observation data. The results from this investigation show that meteorological effects on PM and AOD were strong in the month of June, revealing a clear decreasing trend in recent decades. The investigation focused on the underlying mechanisms influencing the reduction in PM resulting from meteorological changes during the months of June. The results of this study reveal that decreases in atmospheric stability and humidity induced the aerosol change observed in recent decades. The changes in atmospheric stability and humidity are highly correlated with changes in the intensity of the East Asian summer monsoon (EASM). This suggests that the unstable and drying atmosphere by weakening of the EASM in recent decades has improved PM air quality in Seoul during the summer. The effects of atmospheric stability and humidity were also observed to vary depending on the aerosol species. Humidity only affects hydrophilic aerosols such as sulfate, nitrate, and ammonium, whereas atmospheric stability affects all species of aerosols, including carbonaceous aerosols.