An assessment of western North Pacific ozone photochemistry based on springtime observations from NASA's PEM-West B (1994) and TRACE-P (2001) field studies

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Abstract

[1] The current study provides a comparison of the photochemical environments for two NASA field studies focused on the western North Pacific (PEM-West-B (PWB) and TRACE-P (TP)). These two studies were separated in calendar time by approximately 7 years. Both studies were carried out under springtime conditions, with PWB being launched in 1994 and TP being deployed in 2001 (i.e., 23 February–15 March 1994 and 10 March–15 April 2001, respectively). Because of the 7-year time separation, these two studies presented a unique scientific opportunity to assess whether evidence could be found to support the Department of Energy's projections in 1997 that increases in anthropogenic emissions from East Asia could reach 5%/yr. Such projections would lead one to the conclusion that a significant shift in the atmospheric photochemical properties of the western North Pacific would occur. To the contrary, the findings from this study support the most recent emission inventory data [Streets et al., 2003] in that they show no significant systematic trend involving increases in any O3 precursor species and no evidence for a significant shift in the level of photochemical activity over the western North Pacific. This conclusion was reached in spite of there being real differences in the concentration levels of some species as well as differences in photochemical activity between PWB and TP. However, nearly all of these differences were shown to be a result of a near 3-week shift in TP's sampling window relative to PWB, thus placing it later in the spring season. The photochemical enhancements seen during TP were most noticeable for latitudes in the range of 25–45°N. Most important among these were increases in J(O1D), OH, and HO2 and values for photochemical ozone formation and destruction, all of which were typically two times larger than those calculated for PWB. A comparison of these airborne results with ozonesonde data from four Japanese stations provided further evidence showing that the 3-week shift in the respective sampling windows of PWB and TP was a likely cause for the differences seen in O3 levels and in photochemical activity between the two airborne studies.

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