Impact of tropical cyclone track change on regional air quality

Research output: Research - peer-review21_Publication in refereed journal

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347-1355
Journal / PublicationScience of the Total Environment
Early online date30 Aug 2017
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


There has been an increase in tropical cyclones (TCs) in the western North Pacific (WNP) that traverse with a northward recurving track towards East Asia and a decrease in TC tracks entering the South China Sea (SCS) in the past few decades. To investigate the potential impact of the prevailing TC track change on Hong Kong air quality, an analysis has been carried out based on historical data (1991 to 2010) of TC tracks and air quality. Compared to TCs in other regions, TCs in the vicinity of Taiwan (Region 2, R2) have the greatest impact on Hong Kong air quality due to regional transport of air pollutants from the highly industrialized Pearl River Delta (PRD). In the last twenty years, the number of days with TCs in R2 (May to October) has increased by 45% from 111 days in the period 1991–2000 to 161 days in 2001–2010, during which there was an increase in yearly TC-related pollution episodes of approximately 3 episodes per year in Hong Kong. The enhancement of mean O3 concentration due to TCs in R2 is reported as 82% (~50.8 μg/m3 at a rural station) and 58% (~16.8 μg/m3 at an urban station) higher than the summer averages. A similar enhancement is also observed for PM10 (called RSP) and SO2 with an average of 70% (i.e., 22.2 μg/m3 ) and 100% (i.e., 15.2 μg/m3 ) increases, respectively. Overall, the 20 years of historical data show that the O3 concentrations on the TC-affected days are increasing at the estimated rates of 0.5 μg/m3 and 2.6 μg/m3 per year, respectively, in the urban and remote areas, which are significantly higher than the increase of 0.3 μg/m3 and 0.4 μg/m3 per year in the average summer concentrations.

Research Area(s)

  • Air quality, Climate change, Ozone, SO2, South China, Tropical Cyclone track

Citation Format(s)

Impact of tropical cyclone track change on regional air quality. / Lam, Yun Fat; Cheung, Hung Ming; Ying, Chi Cheong.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 610-611, 01.01.2018, p. 1347-1355.

Research output: Research - peer-review21_Publication in refereed journal