Intercontinental transport and its influence on the ozone concentrations over central Europe: Three case studies

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Abstract

[1] In this paper we report on a detailed analysis of the first clear observation of ozone import from North America in the free troposphere over central Europe in May 1996 and of two more recent cases of transatlantic transport. The analysis is based on calculations with the FLEXTRA trajectory model and the FLEXPART tracer model and data from Measurements of Ozone and Water Vapor by Airbus In-Service Aircraft (MOZAIC) flights and North American surface sites. Lidar measurements carried out under conditions of developing anticyclonicity at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, consistently yield peak ozone mixing ratios in the middle and upper troposphere between 80 and 110 ppb during the warm season. These layers are traced back to North America by FLEXTRA trajectories. The prevailing transport pathway involves a warm conveyor belt exporting high amounts of ozone, formed during a prefrontal high-ozone episode, from the central part of the eastern United States to the upper troposphere. The polluted air may enter central Europe above an airstream descending from the stratosphere, thus inverting the normal atmospheric stratification, with stratospheric air at low levels and boundary layer air in the upper troposphere. However, the first two cases studied in this paper show that the export from the eastern United States may arrive over Europe at times prior to the onset of the anticyclonic conditions. Analysis of these cases reveals the complexity of the air export from North America. The ozone maxima occurring during the observational periods are traced back to the planetary boundary layer (PBL) in other source areas in the United States. Some of them are related to entrainments even from source areas beyond North America, either in the stratosphere or in Asia. The third case is quite different in its advection pathway, with almost straight and horizontal advection at 6 to 8 km above sea level starting from the Great Lakes area. A positive correlation between ozone and aerosol in that layer verifies the presence of PBL air. However, the very high ozone mixing ratio (up to 130 ppb) and an anticorrelation of ozone and humidity suggest the entrainment of another component from long-range transport in the upper troposphere from beyond North America. In two of the case studies the export from the PBL was presumably influenced by large-scale convection.

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