Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 5435-5491, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Transport of anthropogenic emissions during ARCTAS-A: a climatology and regional case studies
D. L. Harrigan1,4, H. E. Fuelberg1, I. J. Simpson2, D. R. Blake2, G. R. Carmichael3, and G. S. Diskin5
1Department of Meteorology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA
2Department of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA
3Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
4National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, Tallahassee, FL, USA
5NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, USA

Abstract. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted the Arctic Research of the Composition of the Troposphere from Aircraft and Satellites (ARCTAS) mission during 2008 as a part of the International Polar Year (IPY). The purpose of ARCTAS was to study the factors responsible for changes in the Arctic's atmospheric composition and climate. A major emphasis was to investigate Arctic haze, which is most pronounced during winter and early spring. This study focuses on the spring phase of ARCTAS (ARCTAS-A) that was based in Alaska during April 2008. Although anthropogenic emissions historically have been associated with Arctic haze, biomass burning dominated the ARCTAS-A period and has been the focus of many ARCTAS related studies.

This study determines the common pathways for anthropogenic emissions during ARCTAS-A. Trajectories (air parcels) are released each day from three historically significant regions of anthropogenic emissions (Asia, North America, and Europe). These fifteen day forward trajectories are calculated using data from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model at 45 km horizontal resolution. The trajectories then are examined to determine: origins of emissions that reach the Arctic (defined as north of 70° N) within fifteen days, pathways of the emissions reaching the Arctic, Arctic entry locations, and altitudes at which the trajectories enter the Arctic. These results serve as regional "climatologies" for the ARCTAS-A period.

Three cases during the ARCTAS-A period (one for each of the regions above) are examined using backward trajectories and chemical fingerprinting based on in situ data sampled from the NASA DC-8. The fingerprinting utilizes volatile organic compounds that represent pure anthropogenic tracers, Asian anthropogenic pollution, incomplete combustion, and natural gas emissions. We determine flight legs containing anthropogenic emissions and the pathways travelled by these emissions. Results show that the DC-8 sampled anthropogenic emissions from Asia, North America, and Europe during the spring phase of ARCTAS. The pathways travelled by these emissions agree with our derived "climatologies" and previous studies of Arctic transport. Meteorological analysis and trajectory calculations indicate that middle latitude cyclones and their associated warm conveyor belts play an important role in lofting the surface based emissions to their sampling altitude in all three cases.

Citation: Harrigan, D. L., Fuelberg, H. E., Simpson, I. J., Blake, D. R., Carmichael, G. R., and Diskin, G. S.: Transport of anthropogenic emissions during ARCTAS-A: a climatology and regional case studies, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 5435-5491, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-5435-2011, 2011.
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