Synoptic analysis of the most durable pollution and clean waves during 2009-2019 in Tehran City (capital of Iran)

Nat Hazards (Dordr). 2022;110(2):1247-1272. doi: 10.1007/s11069-021-04990-5. Epub 2021 Aug 20.


The present study was done to analyze and compare synoptic conditions during the most durable pollution and clean waves (MDPW and MDCW) in Tehran City (capital of Iran). For this purpose, air quality index (AQI) data were first obtained during 2009-2019 from the Tehran Air Quality Control Company in Tehran Province. Then, a threshold of (AQI ≤ 101) representing a polluted and unhealthy atmosphere was considered as MDPW, and a threshold of (AQI ≤ 50) representing a clean (good) air was selected as MDCW in Tehran City by identifying the polluted days. The results showed the presence of MDPW during 43 polluted days from November 21, 2010 to January 2, 2011. Intensity and frequency of the polluted days during statistical period showed a decreasing trend that coincided with an increasing trend of precipitation. Analysis of synoptic conditions occurred during 43 days of MDPW indicated penetration of Siberian high-pressure from the east at sea level and extension of sub-tropical anticyclone in mid-level from the west that led to development of an anticyclone circulation with descending and converging flow in Iran and surrounding region. As a result, a calm and sustainable climate and stable concentration of pollutants were observed throughout Tehran City. Backward trajectory of sources and entry route of the polluted air to Tehran City during peak days of pollution showed that desert regions of southern Iraq and central Iran along the southern and southwestern parts played a major role in increasing concentration of pollutants during occurrence of durable wave. Different routes were observed in entry of dusty and the polluted air to Tehran City according to hybrid single-particle Lagrangian integrated trajectory (HY SPLIT) model, but in most of peak days, the areas that were near and adjacent to Tehran City with height of less than 1000 m played a greater role in particle transport. Investigation of instability indices during MDPW showed that in most days of pollution, values of instability intensity were classified into weak class and lower troposphere (1000-850 hPa) compared to higher levels, and degree of stability and calmness of the atmosphere was more. So that, the highest frequency of temperature inversions occurred near the earth's surface.

Keywords: Air quality index; Durable wave; Polluted air; Stable atmosphere; Tehran.