AIRS views transport from 12 to 22 July 2004 Alaskan/Canadian fires: Correlation of AIRS CO and MODIS AOD with forward trajectories and comparison of AIRS CO retrievals with DC-8 in situ measurements during INTEX-A/ICARTT

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Abstract

[1] We present observations of transport of tropospheric carbon monoxide (CO) obtained by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on board NASA's Aqua satellite during the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment–North America (INTEX-A) field campaign in the summer of 2004, part of the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT). In situ measurements from NASA's DC-8 provide crucial assessment of AIRS midtropospheric (400–500 mbar) CO retrievals. For the nine best INTEX-A profiles, convolution of the in situ profiles with AIRS verticality functions demonstrates version 4 AIRS CO retrievals between 400 and 500 mbar are biased high by approximately 8% with a standard deviation slightly less than 5%. The 400–500 mbar region is the only portion of the version 4 AIRS CO retrievals that can be validated as presented here. In some cases, AIRS CO retrievals may be sensitive to CO in the lower to midtroposphere (800–500 mbar). Focusing on one major episode, we investigate transport of CO from a large fire outbreak in the Alaskan/Canadian Yukon region from 11 to 14 July 2004 and follow it downwind to the southeastern United States and Europe by 22 July 2004. Comparison of AIRS CO maps and forward trajectories from fire locations reveals substantial variations in fire emissions especially emission injection height. Any useful forecast model must control for such fire emission variabilities to predict correctly the downwind impact. To match the forward trajectory analyses with AIRS CO observations requires some fires to have directly injected emissions to at least 500 mbar and perhaps as high as 300 mbar. Ground-based lidar observations show smoke plume altitudes from 3 to 11 km over Wisconsin and from 1 to 4 km over Maryland in agreement with the forward trajectories. The Wisconsin lidar profiles on the afternoon of 18 July 2004 constrain the altitude of CO-rich smoke observed by AIRS and MODIS to lie between 2 and 5.5 km above the surface, roughly 800 to 500 mbar. We find that changes in the correlation between AIRS CO and MODIS AOD reflect changes in the CO vertical distribution during this event. This finding is confirmed by in situ measurements, meteorological analyses, and forward trajectory analyses.

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