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Impact of Fine Particulate Matter on Visibility at Incheon International Airport, South Korea

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Article In Press
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.03.0106
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To cite this article:
Won, W.S., Oh, R., Lee, W., Kim, K.Y., Ku, S., Su, P.C. and Yoon, Y.J. (2020). Impact of Fine Particulate Matter on Visibility at Incheon International Airport, South Korea. Aerosol Air Qual. Res., doi: 10.4209/aaqr.2019.03.0106.

Wan-Sik Won1, Rosy Oh2, Woojoo Lee3, Ki-Young Kim4, Sungkwan Ku5, Pei-Chen Su1, Yong-Jin Yoon 1,6

  • 1 School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
  • 2 Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea
  • 3 Department of Public Health Science, Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea
  • 4 4D Solution Co., Ltd., Seoul 08511, Korea
  • 5 Department of Aviation Industrial and System Engineering, Hanseo University, Chungcheongnam-do 32158, Korea
  • 6 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 34141, Korea


  • Both PM10 and PM2.5 are taken into account to predict visibility.
  • Censored regression model is successfully applied to airport visibility.
  • PM2.5 impact on visibility is quantitatively estimated at Incheon airport.


Low visibility at an airport causes significant flight delays, thereby reducing the airport’s capacity. To better understand its contributing factors, the present study examined the visibility at Incheon International Airport, South Korea, and its relationship with meteorological conditions as well as particulate matter (PM; viz., PM2.5 and PM10) concentrations for the period of 2015–2017. A censored regression model was developed to quantitatively describe the changes in visibility, and the results demonstrated that the visibility was more strongly correlated with the concentration of PM2.5 than PM10. Specifically, the decrease in visibility was primarily determined by the interaction between PM2.5 and meteorological factors, such as fog, haze, high temperatures, low relative humidity, and weak wind speed. A severe fog event during March 2018 was applied as a test case to validate this regression model, which estimated that the PM10 and PM2.5 impaired the visibility by approximately 8.0 km (3.2 km and 4.8 km due to PM10 and PM2.5, respectively) at Incheon International Airport during hazy conditions. Our findings reveal that the concentration of PM2.5 and its interaction with meteorological factors must be considered when diagnosing and predicting reduced visibility.


Particulate matter Visibility Airport Fog Censored regression

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