The spatiotemporal inhomogeneity of pollutant concentrations and its dependence on regional weather conditions in a coastal city of China

  • Baohua Zhou
  • Lejiang Yu
  • Shiyuan Zhong
  • Xindi Bian


Hourly data for sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and inhalable particulate matter (PM10) over a 33-month period from a network of air quality monitoring stations across Qingdao, a major coastal city in eastern China, along with surface and upper-air meteorological data, are used to characterize the spatiotemporal variability of these pollutants in the region and the role of meteorological conditions play in pollution episodes. Large differences in the concentrations of all three pollutants are found between densely populated or industrial areas and suburban commercial or residential or coastal tourist areas, but the differences are relatively small between older and newer parts of the residential-commercial areas and between old and newly developed industrial areas. Wavelet analyses revealed a strong seasonal cycle for all three pollutants, introseasonal variability with a periodicity depending on pollutant and location, and diurnal and a semi-diurnal variability with season-dependent amplitude and phase. Low wind speed is found to be the leading factor for pollution buildup in the region. These results may prove useful for urban planning and development and implementation of effective air pollution control strategies for other coastal regions with economic development similar to Qingdao.


Air pollution Coastal city air pollution Air pollution meteorology Sulfur dioxide (SO2Nitrogen oxides (NOxParticulate matter (PM10



This paper is supported by the Center of Engineering Technology for Ecological Carbon Sequestration and Trapping Utilization in Shandong, China. The authors (Zhou and Yu) gratefully acknowledge the support of the Center for Global Change & Earth Observations during their time as visiting scholars to Michigan State University, USA. We appreciated the Environmental Protection Department of Shandong Province for the air quality data and University of Wyoming for the sounding data and surface data in Qingdao.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Resources and EnvironmentUniversity of JinanJinanChina
  2. 2.Polar Research Institute of ChinaShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial SciencesMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  4. 4.Northern Research StationUS Forest ServiceLansingUSA

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