Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 681-744, 2011
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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.
Southeast Pacific atmospheric composition and variability sampled along 20° S during VOCALS-REx
G. Allen1, H. Coe1, A. Clarke2, C. Bretherton3, R. Wood3, S. J. Abel4, P. Barrett4, P. Brown4, R. George3, S. Freitag2, C. McNaughton2, S. Howell2, L. Shank2, V. Kapustin2, V. Brekhovskikh2, L. Kleinman5, Y.-N. Lee5, S. Springston5, T. Toniazzo6, R. Krejci7, J. Fochesatto8, G. Shaw9, P. Krecl10, B. Brooks10, G. McKeeking1, K. N. Bower1, P. I. Williams1, J. Crosier1, I. Crawford1, P. Connolly1, D. Covert3, and A. R. Bandy11
1Centre for Atmospheric Science, University of Manchester, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
2Dept. of Oceanography, University Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
3Dept. of Atmospheric Science, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
4Observation Based Research Division, Met Office, Exeter, UK
5Atmospheric Sciences Division, Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA
6Dept. of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
7Dept. of Applied Environmental Science (ITM), Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
8Dept. of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
9Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
10School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
11Dept. of Chemistry, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Abstract. The VAMOS Ocean-Climate-Atmosphere-Land Regional Experiment (VOCALS-REx) was conducted from 15 October to 15 November 2008 in the South East Pacific region to investigate interactions between land, sea and atmosphere in this unique tropical eastern ocean environment and to improve the skill of global and regional models in representing the region. This study synthesises selected aircraft, ship and surface site observations from VOCALS-REx to statistically summarise and characterise the atmospheric composition and variability of the Marine Boundary Layer (MBL) and Free Troposphere (FT) along the 20° S parallel between 70° W and 85° W. Significant zonal gradients in mean MBL sub-micron aerosol particle size and composition, carbon monoxide, ozone and sulphur dioxide were seen over the campaign, with a generally more variable and polluted coastal environment and a less variable, more pristine remote maritime regime. Gradients are observed to be associated with strong gradients in cloud droplet number. The FT is often more polluted in terms of trace gases than the MBL in the mean; however increased variability in the FT composition suggests an episodic nature to elevated concentrations. This is consistent with a complex vertical interleaving of airmasses with diverse sources and hence pollutant concentrations as seen by generalised back trajectory analysis, which suggests contributions from both local and long-range sources. Furthermore, back trajectory analysis demonstrates that the observed zonal gradients both in the boundary layer and the free troposphere are characteristic of marked changes in airmass history with distance offshore – coastal boundary layer airmasses having been in recent contact with the local land surface and remote maritime airmasses having resided over ocean for in excess of ten days. Boundary layer composition to the east of 75° W was observed to be dominated by coastal emissions from sources to the west of the Andes, with evidence for diurnal pumping of the Andean boundary layer above the height of the marine capping inversion. The climatology presented here aims to provide a valuable dataset to inform model simulation and future process studies, particularly in the context of aerosol-cloud interaction and further evaluation of dynamical processes in the SEP region for conditions analogous to those during VOCALS-REx.

Citation: Allen, G., Coe, H., Clarke, A., Bretherton, C., Wood, R., Abel, S. J., Barrett, P., Brown, P., George, R., Freitag, S., McNaughton, C., Howell, S., Shank, L., Kapustin, V., Brekhovskikh, V., Kleinman, L., Lee, Y.-N., Springston, S., Toniazzo, T., Krejci, R., Fochesatto, J., Shaw, G., Krecl, P., Brooks, B., McKeeking, G., Bower, K. N., Williams, P. I., Crosier, J., Crawford, I., Connolly, P., Covert, D., and Bandy, A. R.: Southeast Pacific atmospheric composition and variability sampled along 20° S during VOCALS-REx, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 681-744, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-681-2011, 2011.
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