Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Joshua S. Fu

Committee Members

Jonh Drake, Wayne T. Davis, Gregory D. Peterson


East Asia is frequently influenced by dust storms and biomass burning. This study conducts a comprehensive investigation of its kind based on data analysis with surface measurements, satellite products, and model simulations. The objective of this study is to improve the understanding of the impacts of biomass burning and dust on air quality and regional climate. The study period covers March and April from 2006 to 2010. Biomass burning from Peninsular Southeast Asia (PSEA) has significant annual variations by up to 60% within the study period. The impact of biomass burning on air quality is mainly confined within the upper air due to the uplift motion driven by lee-side trough along eastern side of Tibet Plateau. The Weather Research and Forecasting and Community Multiscale Air Quality (WRF/CMAQ) system successfully reproduces the spatial distributions and temporal variations of air pollutants. Simulation bias falls in the range of 10%~50%, mainly due to the uncertainties within the emission inventory. This study reveals that the default WRF/CMAQ model has doubt counting of the soil moisture effect and subsequently underestimates dust emission by 55%. The microphysical parameterization and the speciation profile are revised to characterize the emission and mass contribution of dust better. Heterogeneous dust chemistry is also incorporated. These modifications substantially improve the model performance as indicated by the comparison between model simulations and observations. This study reveals that biomass burning has significant warming effect due to the presence of the underlying stratocumulus cloud. Biomass burning aerosol cools the near surface air by -0.2K, and significantly warms the upper air by up to +2K. Dust aerosol cools the near surface air by -0.9K and warms the upper air by +0.1K. This is the first investigation into the coexistence of biomass burning and dust over East Asia. This coexistence changes the aerosol direct radiative effect efficiencies of both biomass burning and dust by ±10%.

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