Carbon monoxide (CO) maximum over the Zagros mountains in the Middle East: Signature of mountain venting?



[1] We report an intriguing feature observed in daytime measurements of CO over the Middle East, in spring and summer, by the Measurements of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) satellite instrument. Enhanced CO is observed over the Zagros mountains of Iran, following the local topography over this region (25–40N, 40–60E). The MOPITT averaging kernels do not seem to indicate any data artifacts in this area. We argue that this feature likely forms by the process of mountain venting by thermal winds caused by strong daytime differential heating. This is consistent with an analysis of vertical velocity in the NCEP reanalysis data in this region. The phenomenon was observed in all the years of available MOPITT measurements and may have implications for the pollution episodes in the region and the Middle East ozone maximum that has been observed earlier.