Theoretical and Applied Climatology

, Volume 136, Issue 1–2, pp 55–64 | Cite as

Characteristics of long-lasting haze episodes observed in Seoul, South Korea, for 2009–2014

  • Hae-Jung Lee
  • Jeong Eun KimEmail author
  • Joo Wan Cha
  • Seungjoo Song
  • Sang-Boom Ryoo
  • Yong Pyo Kim
Original Paper


The meteorological, physical, chemical, and optical characteristics of long-lasting haze in Seoul were studied. Four episodes were observed between 2009 and 2014, all in winter. PM10 mass concentration (PM10), chemical species, and aerosol optical depth (AOD) were analyzed along with the synoptic meteorological conditions. During the episodes, the temporal variations of the PM10 generally proceeded from the west along the Yellow Sea. The ground-based AOD was also high in Seoul and other sites. High AOD (MODIS) distributions were observed to move from China to Korea. The high sulfate concentration, along with the high sulfur oxidation ratio value of the third and fourth episodes (Eps. 3 and 4), respectively, corroborated the possible long-range transport of air pollutants. Stagnant meteorological conditions were a reason for the occurrence of long-lasting hazes. An anticyclone system had a dominant influence on the Korean peninsula during all episodes. The air mass over China was able to rise, and that over Korea was more stagnant in terms of climatology except Ep. 2. In addition to transport from outside, locally emitted air pollutants contributed to the PM10 partly due to the stagnant conditions, during which diurnal variations in NO2 and nitrates showed similar peak times during Eps. 3 and 4. Analysis of the episodes consistently showed that the long-lasting haze episodes were influenced by both the long-range transport of air pollutants from outside Seoul, mostly from China, and the accumulation of air pollutants that were locally emitted and transformed.


Long-lasting haze PM10 mass concentration Seoul 



This study has been supported by the “Research and Development for Meteorological Services (NIMS-2016-3100)” of the National Institute of Meteorological Sciences (NIMS). We wish to thank the AERONET PI at Beijing-CAMS for the Sunphotometer data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Meteorology Research DivisionNational Institute of Meteorological SciencesJejuSouth Korea
  2. 2.Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceEwha Womans UniversitySeoulSouth Korea

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