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Temporal Variation of Atmospheric Static Electric Field and Air Ions and their Relationships to Pollution in Shanghai

Category: Urban Air Quality

Accepted Manuscripts
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2017.07.0248
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Yifan Wang1, Yanyu Wang1, Junyan Duan1, Tiantao Cheng 1,2,3, Hailin Zhu1, Xin Xie1, Yuehui Liu1, Yan Ling1, Xiang Li1, Hongli Wang2, Mei Li3, Renjian Zhang4

  • 1 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 2 State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Formation and Prevention of Urban Air Pollution Complex, Institute of Atmospheric Environment, Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, Shanghai 200233, China
  • 3 Guangdong Engineering Research Center for Online Atmospheric Pollution Source Apportionment Mass Spectrometry System, Institute of Mass Spectrometer and Atmospheric Environment, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China
  • 4 Key Laboratory of Region Climate-Environment Research for Temperate East Asia (CAS-TEA), Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100029, China


The fair-weather EF presents diurnal variations of multi-modal oscillations.
Local meteorological parameters affect atmospheric EF.
The atmospheric EF gradually increases with worsening pollution.


Atmospheric electric field (EF) and air ions were measured in Shanghai from December 2014 to December 2015 to examine the influence of particulate pollutants. Fair-weather EF exhibits a diurnal variation of multi-modal oscillations in spring, summer, and autumn. Linear correlation analyses show that the local meteorological conditions of relative humidity, temperature, pressure and wind affect atmospheric electric field, with wind direction exhibiting the highest correlation coefficient. Atmospheric EF is significantly higher in the west compared with that in the east, as the air mass from inland areas carries more polluted aerosols. Air ion concentrations are generally higher in the daytime than at night and correlate with meteorological factors. Atmospheric EF undergoes a substantial fluctuation in polluted periods, but remains flat under clean conditions. Overall, in areas with pollution, the atmospheric EF gradually increases with increased pollution or increased particle loading (e.g., PM2.5), a useful indicator of air pollution. The concentration of PM2.5 is positively correlated with the atmospheric electric field under polluted conditions, because as the concentration of aerosol particles declines, the concentrations of small ions and the atmospheric conductivity decrease accordingly, thus causing an increase in the electric field. Overall, aerosol particles, air ions, and their interactions in the presence of various meteorological parameters can have local effects on the atmospheric electric field.


Atmospheric electric field Air ions Urban pollution

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