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© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 04 Oct 2018

Research article | 04 Oct 2018

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Contribution of local and remote anthropogenic aerosols to intensification of a record-breaking torrential rainfall event in Guangdong province

Zhen Liu1,2, Yi Ming3, Chun Zhao4, Ngar Cheung Lau5,2,1, Jianping Guo6, and Steve Hung Lam Yim5,2,1 Zhen Liu et al.
  • 1Institute of Space and Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
  • 2Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, N.T., Hong Kong
  • 3Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory/NOAA, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
  • 4School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China
  • 5Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, N.T., Hong Kong
  • 6State Key Laboratory of Severe Weather, Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Beijing 100081, China

Abstract. A torrential rainfall case, which happened in Guangdong Province during December 14–16, 2013, broke the historical rainfall record in the province in terms of duration, affected area, and accumulative precipitation. The influence of anthropogenic aerosols on this extreme rainfall event was examined using a coupled meteorology–chemistry-aerosol model. Enhancement of precipitation in the estuary and near the coast up to 33.7mm was mainly attributed to aerosol–cloud interactions, whereas aerosol-radiation interactions partially compensated 14% of the precipitation increase. Responses of precipitation to changes in anthropogenic aerosols from local (i.e., Guangdong province) and remote (i.e., outside Guangdong province) sources were also investigated through simulations with reduced aerosol emissions from either local or remote sources. Accumulated aerosol concentration from local sources aggregated mainly near the surface and diluted quickly after the precipitation initiated. By contrast, aerosol concentration from remote emissions extended up to 8km and lasted much longer before decreasing until peak rainfall began, because aerosols were continuously transported by the strong northerly. Although the patterns of precipitation response to remote and local aerosols resembled each other, remote aerosols contributed more than twice the precipitation increase compared with local aerosols, occupying a predominant role. Ten times of the emission sensitivity test resulted in about ten times of PM2.5 concentration compared with the control run. The patterns of precipitation and cloud property changes also resembled that in the control run, but with much greater magnitude. The average precipitation in Guangdong province decreased by 1.0mm but increased by 1.4mm in the control run. We noted that the reinforced precipitation increase was concentrated within a more narrowed downstream region, whereas the precipitation decrease was more dispersed across the upstream region. This indicates that the excessive aerosols not only suppress rainfall but also change the spatial distribution of precipitation, increasing the rainfall range, thereby potentially exacerbating flood and drought elsewhere. This study highlights the importance of considering aerosols in meteorology to improve extreme weather forecasting. Furthermore, aerosols from remote emissions may outweigh those from local emissions in the cloud invigoration effect.

Zhen Liu et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
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