The impact of aged wildfire smoke on atmospheric composition and ozone in the Colorado Front Range in summer 2015
Jakob Lindaas1, Delphine K. Farmer2, Ilana B. Pollack1,2, Andrew Abeleira2, Frank Flocke3, Rob Roscioli4, Scott Herndon4, and Emily V. Fischer11Colorado State University, Department of Atmospheric Science, Fort Collins, CO, USA 2Colorado State University, Department of Chemistry, Fort Collins, CO, USA 3National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA 4Aerodyne Research Inc., Billerica, MA, USA
Received: 26 Feb 2017 – Accepted for review: 28 Feb 2017 – Discussion started: 01 Mar 2017
Abstract. The relative importance of wildfire smoke for air quality over the western U.S. is expected to increase as the climate warms and anthropogenic emissions decline. We report on in situ measurements of ozone (O3), a suite of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and reactive oxidized nitrogen species collected during summer 2015 at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO) in Erie, CO. Aged wildfire smoke impacted BAO during two distinct time periods during summer 2015: 6–10 July and 16–30 August. The smoke was transported from the Pacific Northwest and Canada across much of the continental U.S. Carbon monoxide and particulate matter increased during the smoke-impacted periods, along with peroxyacyl nitrates and several VOCs that have atmospheric lifetimes longer than the transport timescale of the smoke. During the August smoke-impacted period, nitrogen dioxide was also elevated during the morning and evening compared to the smoke-free periods. There were six days during our study period where the maximum 8-hour average O3 at BAO was greater than 65 ppbv, and two of these days were smoke-impacted. We examined the relationship between O3 and temperature at BAO and found that for a given temperature, O3 mixing ratios were greater (~ 10 ppbv) during the smoke-impacted periods. Enhancements in O3 during the August smoke-impacted period were also observed at two long-term monitoring sites in Colorado: Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge near Walden, CO. Our data provide a new case study of how aged wildfire smoke can influence atmospheric composition at an urban site, and how smoke can contribute to increased O3 abundances across an urban-rural gradient.
Lindaas, J., Farmer, D. K., Pollack, I. B., Abeleira, A., Flocke, F., Roscioli, R., Herndon, S., and Fischer, E. V.: The impact of aged wildfire smoke on atmospheric composition and ozone in the Colorado Front Range in summer 2015, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2017-171, in review, 2017.