Asian outflow and trans-Pacific transport of carbon monoxide and ozone pollution: An integrated satellite, aircraft, and model perspective

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Abstract

[1] Satellite observations of carbon monoxide (CO) from the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) instrument are combined with measurements from the Transport and Chemical Evolution Over the Pacific (TRACE-P) aircraft mission over the northwest Pacific and with a global three-dimensional chemical transport model (GEOS-CHEM) to quantify Asian pollution outflow and its trans-Pacific transport during spring 2001. Global CO column distributions in MOPITT and GEOS-CHEM are highly correlated (R2 = 0.87), with no significant model bias. The largest regional bias is over Southeast Asia, where the model is 18% too high. A 60% decrease of regional biomass burning emissions in the model (to 39 Tg yr−1) would correct the discrepancy; this result is consistent with TRACE-P observations. MOPITT and TRACE-P also give consistent constraints on the Chinese source of CO from fuel combustion (181 Tg CO yr−1). Four major events of trans-Pacific transport of Asian pollution in spring 2001 were seen by MOPITT, in situ platforms, and GEOS-CHEM. One of them was sampled by TRACE-P (26–27 February) as a succession of pollution layers over the northeast Pacific. These layers all originated from one single event of Asian outflow that split into northern and southern plumes over the central Pacific. The northern plume (sampled at 6–8 km off California) had no ozone enhancement. The southern subsiding plume (sampled at 2–4 km west of Hawaii) contained a 8–17 ppbv ozone enhancement, driven by decomposition of peroxyacetylnitrate (PAN) to nitrogen oxides (NOx). This result suggests that PAN decomposition in trans-Pacific pollution plumes subsiding over the United States could lead to significant enhancements of surface ozone.

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