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Keywords:

  • transpacific transport;
  • transit time distributions;
  • low-level paths

[1] The role of low-level transpacific paths in bringing east Asian air to the North American west coast surface is determined using conditional transit-time distributions. These distributions are computed with the MATCH transport model driven by NCEP reanalysis data. Transpacific paths that lie entirely below ∼2.2 km contribute negligibly to the west coast column burden of east Asian air. However, during summer such paths account for about half of the climatological west coast surface mixing ratio of east Asian air with transit times of less than ∼3 weeks. Summertime transport is characterized by distinct upper and lower level transport modes, which form by convective injection and boundary layer outflow into a summertime marine troposphere of high stability and weak baroclinicity. During the other seasons the climatological east Asian air plume organizes into distinct midlatitude and subtropical parts, particularly evident during spring and fall. The midlatitude plume is characterized by mixing along sloping isentropes, which transports low-level air aloft over the western Pacific and brings midtropospheric air to the surface over the eastern Pacific. The subtropical part of the plume is formed by convectively injected air. Lagged, weighted composites show that summertime surface events are characterized by strong low-level Asian outflow, while for the other seasons surface events are associated with enhanced mixing along sloping isentropes.