Reactive nitrogen in Asian continental outflow over the western Pacific: Results from the NASA Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P) airborne mission

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Abstract

[1] We present here results for reactive nitrogen species measured aboard the NASA DC-8 aircraft during the Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P) mission. The large-scale distributions total reactive nitrogen (NOy,sum = NO + NO2 + HNO3 + PAN + C1–C5 alkyl nitrates) and O3 and CO were better defined in the boundary layer with significant degradation of the relationships as altitude increased. Typically, NOy,sum was enhanced over background levels of ∼260 pptv by 20-to-30-fold. The ratio C2H2/CO had values of 1–4 at altitudes up to 10 km and as far eastward as 150°E, implying significant vertical mixing of air parcels followed by rapid advection across the Pacific. Analysis air parcels originating from five principal Asian source regions showed that HNO3 and PAN dominated NOy,sum. Correlations of NOy,sum with C2Cl4 (urban tracer) were not well defined in any of the source regions, and they were only slightly better with CH3Cl (biomass tracer). Air parcels over the western Pacific contained a complex mixture of emission sources that are not easily resolvable as shown by analysis of the Shanghai mega-city plume. It contained an intricate mixture of pollution emissions and exhibited the highest mixing ratios of NOy,sum species observed during TRACE-P. Comparison of tropospheric chemistry between the earlier PEM-West B mission and the recent TRACE-P data showed that in the boundary layer significant increases in the mixing ratios of NOy,sum species have occurred, but the middle and upper troposphere seems to have been affected minimally by increasing emissions on the Asian continent over the last 7 years.

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