Influence of cloud, fog, and high relative humidity during pollution transport events in South Korea: Aerosol properties and PM2.5 variability

T. F. Eck, B. N. Holben, J. Kim, A. J. Beyersdorf, M. Choi, S. Lee, J. H. Koo, D. M. Giles, J. S. Schafer, A. Sinyuk, D. A. Peterson, J. S. Reid, A. Arola, I. Slutsker, A. Smirnov, M. Sorokin, J. Kraft, J. H. Crawford, B. E. Anderson, K. L. ThornhillGlenn Diskin, Sang Woo Kim, Soojin Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This investigation examines aerosol dynamics during major fine mode aerosol transboundary pollution events in South Korea primarily during the KORUS-AQ campaign from May 1 – June 10, 2016, particularly when cloud fraction was high and/or fog was present to quantify the change in aerosol characteristics due to near-cloud or fog interaction. We analyze the new AERONET Version 3 data that have significant changes to cloud screening algorithms, allowing many more fine-mode observations in the near vicinity of clouds or fog. Case studies for detailed investigation include May 25–26, 2016 when cloud fraction was high over much of the peninsula, associated with a weak frontal passage and advection of pollution from China. These cloud-influenced Chinese transport dates also had the highest aerosol optical depth (AOD), surface PM2.5 concentrations and fine mode particle sizes of the entire campaign. Another likewise cloud/high relative humidity (RH) case is June 9 and 10, 2016 when fog was present over the Yellow Sea that appears to have affected aerosol properties well downwind over the Korean peninsula. In comparison we also investigated aerosol properties on air stagnation days with very low cloud cover and relatively low RH (May 17 & 18, 2016), when local Korean emissions dominated. Aerosol volume size distributions show marked differences between the transport days (with high RH and cloud influences) and the local pollution stagnation days, with total column-integrated particle fine mode volume being an order of magnitude greater on the pollution transport dates. The PM2.5 over central Seoul were significantly greater than for coastal sites on the transboundary transport days yet not on stagnation days, suggesting additional particle formation from gaseous urban emissions in cloud/fog droplets and/or in the high RH humidified aerosol environment. Many days had KORUS-AQ research aircraft flights that provided observations of aerosol absorption, particle chemistry and vertical profiles of extinction. AERONET retrievals and aircraft in situ measurements both showed high single scattering albedo (weak absorption) on the cloudy or cloud influenced days, plus aircraft profile in situ measurements showed large AOD enhancements (versus dried aerosol) at ambient relative humidity (RH) on the pollution transport days, consistent with the significantly larger fine mode particle radii and weak absorption.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117530
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Hal Maring (NASA Headquarters) and Steve Platnik (NASA GSFC) for their continuing long-term commitment and support for the AERONET project. J. S Reid's contributions were provided by the Office of Naval Research Code 322 (N0001418WX00442). We thank the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER) in South Korea for the hourly monitoring of PM2.5 data at numerous sites in South Korea and for making these data available to KORUS-AQ researchers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of cloud, fog, and high relative humidity during pollution transport events in South Korea: Aerosol properties and PM2.5 variability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this