An analysis of the mechanisms of North American pollutant transport to the central North Atlantic lower free troposphere



[1] We use the FLEXPART Lagrangian particle dispersion model and observations from the PICO-NARE station to identify and analyze the transport of North American anthropogenic emissions to the central North Atlantic lower free troposphere (FT) during July 2003. FLEXPART adequately captured the occurrence of CO transport events, simulating all but 1 of the 16 observed events while producing only 3 events not observed. Low-level transport (below 3 km) was responsible for most events. Three case studies of this type are presented. Export from the North American boundary layer in these events was the result of eastward advection over the ocean or transport in a weak warm conveyor belt airflow. Once over the ocean, transport was governed by geostrophic winds between the Azores/Bermuda High (ABH) and transient northerly lows. The varying locations of the ABH and northerly lows determine the pathway of this type of event. As a result, other events similar to those analyzed here reach Europe. Transported below 3 km, these events were observed in the lower FT over the Azores and were accompanied by O3 enhancements. Thus the lower marine FT may provide a transport environment significantly different from the marine boundary layer, where O3 destruction is believed to dominate. In the fourth case study, North American emissions were lofted to 6–8 km in a warm conveyor belt, captured for 2 days in the midtropospheric circulation of the associated cyclone, and then entrained in the same cyclone's dry airstream and transported down to the Azores.