Indications of photochemical histories of Pacific air masses from measurements of atmospheric trace species at Point Arena, California
Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012
Copyright 1992 by the American Geophysical Union.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (1984–2012)
Volume 97, Issue D14, pages 15883–15901, 20 October 1992
How to Cite
1992), Indications of photochemical histories of Pacific air masses from measurements of atmospheric trace species at Point Arena, California, J. Geophys. Res., 97(D14), 15883–15901, doi:10.1029/92JD01242., , , , , , , , and (
- Issue published online: 21 SEP 2012
- Article first published online: 21 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 MAY 1992
- Manuscript Received: 27 JAN 1992
Measurements of light hydrocarbons, ozone, peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), HNO3, NO3−, NOx, NOy, and meteorological parameters were made during a 10-day period in April and May 1985 at Point Arena, a coastal inflow site on the Pacific Ocean in northern California. The meteorological measurements indicate that during this study the sampled air was usually from the marine boundary layer with little land influence on the meteorological parameters. In this marine air the mixing ratios of the alkanes, ozone, PAN, and HNO3 showed strong correlations coincident with variations in the origins of calculated air parcel trajectories and with variations in the ratios of the light alkanes. This variation in the ratios is attributed to different degrees of photochemical aging of the alkanes that are generally consistent with the calculated trajectories. This behavior indicates that the alkane levels are determined by transport to the marine area from continental sources, most likely Asian, followed by photochemical removal over the Pacific Ocean. Since the concentrations of PAN and ozone correlate well with the alkane ratios, it is concluded that the observed PAN and ozone were dominated by continental sources and removal processes in the marine areas. This and other marine studies have observed a strong correlation of PAN and ozone, and it is suggested that production over the continents, transport to the marine areas, and parallel removal processes account for much of the observed correlation. From the correlation of these two species with the measured alkane ratios, approximate net lifetimes of PAN and ozone in the marine troposphere of ≤2.5 and ≥19 days, respectively, are derived. The primary conclusion is that the alkanes, ozone, and PAN in these air parcels from the Pacific marine troposphere are dominated by transport from continental sources and removal by photochemical processes. Direct emissions of the alkanes and in situ photochemical production of PAN and ozone from precursors emitted into the marine region from the surface or the stratosphere must play less important roles. Similar indications of continental influence in marine areas have been seen in other studies of ozone, the sulfur cycle, oxidized nitrogen, and hydrocarbons. It is suggested that the ratios of the light alkanes provide photochemical “clocks” that are useful for gauging the importance of continental influence in a particular marine measurement.