Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Dry deposition of airborne trace metals on the Los Angeles Basin and adjacent coastal waters



[1] We present an assessment of the deposition rates of airborne trace metals onto the Los Angeles Basin and adjacent coastal waters. For this purpose, the UCLA Surface Meteorology and Ozone Generation (SMOG) air pollution modeling system has been used to simulate the geographical distributions of trace metals and their deposition fluxes. Calculations were performed for average summer and winter conditions, as well as for extreme meteorological events, in particular, for Santa Ana winds. Thus, a series of simulations were carried out that define the range of meteorological conditions contributing to dry deposition in the region. These predictions have been calibrated and validated using measurements collected in the LA area. Significant spatial and temporal variability are found in trace metal concentrations and deposition rates. Large spatial gradients occur near the coast as well as at the mountainous boundaries of the airshed. Considerable diurnal and seasonal variations in trace metal deposition are also noted. For example, the development of a daytime sea breeze, particularly in the warmer months, leads to greater deposition in the northern and eastern basin as well as in the high desert. A nighttime land breeze, especially in the colder months, enhances deposition onto coastal ocean surfaces. Large particles dominate local trace metal deposition in central urban (and adjacent) areas, while fine particles export metals over regional scales through long-range advection. Since the majority of urban metal deposition occurs on particles larger than 10-μm diameter, routine measurements of PM10 or PM2.5 concentrations for air quality characterization may not be reliable indicators of local sources. Some 35–45% of all trace metal emissions are deposited locally within the Los Angeles Basin on an annual basis. Santa Monica Bay and its watersheds receive about 6% of this amount, which can have a significant impact on trace metal concentrations in the surface waters of the bay, primarily through land runoff following storms.