Long-term variations in PM2.5 concentrations under changing meteorological conditions in Taiwan

Fang Yi Cheng, Chia Hua Hsu

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Abstract

With emission control efforts, the PM2.5 concentrations and PM2.5 exceedance days (daily mean PM2.5 concentrations >35 µg m−3) show an apparent declining trend from 2006–2017. The PM2.5 concentrations increase from the northern to southern part of western Taiwan, and reductions in the PM2.5 concentration generally decrease from northern to southern part of western Taiwan. Thus, mitigation of the PM2.5 problem is less effective in southwestern Taiwan than in other regions in Taiwan. Analysis of a 39-year ERA-interim reanalysis dataset (1979–2017) reveals a weakening of the East Asian winter monsoon, a reduction in northeasterly (NE) monsoonal flow, and a tendency of enhanced stably stratified atmospheric structures in Taiwan and the surrounding area. The observed surface wind speed also presents a long-term decline. We can conclude that the long-term PM2.5 variations in Taiwan are mainly associated with changes in local anthropogenic emissions and modulated by short-term yearly variations due to strong haze events in China. In southwestern Taiwan, the long-term trend of PM2.5 reductions is possibly offset by worsening weather conditions, as this region is situated on the leeside of the mountains and often subject to stagnant wind when under the influence of NE monsoonal flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6635
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

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