Based on the in-depth investigation of the temporal and spatial relationship between aerosols and red tide events in the East China Sea (ECS), a model of the potential correlation between the paths of aerosol input and red tides in the ECS has been suggested. This study shows that red tides are closely related to aerosol events which come from northwest of the sea (winter monsoon direction) and descend to the ECS surface. Two principal paths of aerosol input are established that are relevant to the red tide events in the ECS. The first path contains aerosols from the northwest that are usually related to the red tide events covering an area of more than 1,000 km2. A second path is characterized by aerosols that first move from the northwest to east and then to south, finally settling in the red tide areas in the ECS. These aerosol paths are usually related to the red tide events that cover a smaller area, except in cases where stopover and follow-up re-supply of these aerosols may result in larger red tide events. The aerosols from southeast and southwest are not related with red tide events in the ECS. Downward vertical air currents play a key role in the relationship between ECS red tides and aerosol events. Without downdraughts, aerosols will have nothing to do with the red tide events. The study provides new information for discovering the occurrence mechanism of red tides in the ECS and essential parameters for red tide prediction and early warning.

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