Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Water-soluble organic aerosol in the Los Angeles Basin and outflow regions: Airborne and ground measurements during the 2010 CalNex field campaign



[1] A particle-into-liquid sampler coupled to a total organic carbon analyzer (PILS-TOC) quantified particulate water-soluble organic carbon (WSOC) mass concentrations during the May 2010 deployment of the Center for Interdisciplinary Remotely Piloted Aircraft Studies (CIRPAS) Twin Otter in the CalNex field study. WSOC data collected during 16 flights provide the first spatiotemporal maps of WSOC in the San Joaquin Valley, Los Angeles Basin, and outflow regions of the Basin. WSOC was consistently higher in concentration within the Los Angeles Basin, where sea breeze transport and Basin topography strongly influence the spatial distribution of WSOC. The highest WSOC levels were associated with fire plumes, highlighting the importance of both primary and secondary sources for WSOC in the region. Residual pollution layers enriched with WSOC are observed aloft up to an altitude of 3.2 km and the highest WSOC levels for each flight were typically observed above 500 m. Simultaneous ground WSOC measurements during aircraft overpasses in Pasadena and Riverside typically exhibit lower levels, especially when relative humidity (RH) was higher aloft suggestive of the influence of aerosol-phase water. This points to the underestimation of the radiative effects of WSOC when using only surface measurements. Reduced aerosol-phase water in the eastern desert outflow region likely promotes the re-partitioning of WSOC to the gas phase and suppression of processes to produce these species (partitioning, multiphase chemistry, photolytic production); as a result, WSOC is reduced relative to sulfate (but not as much as nitrate) as aerosol is advected from the Basin to the outflows.