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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-601
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2018-601
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 10 Sep 2018

Research article | 10 Sep 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Tracer study to estimate the transport of cruise altitude aviation emissions in Northern Hemisphere

Lakshmi Pradeepa Vennam1,2,a, William Vizuete2, and Saravanan Arunachalam1 Lakshmi Pradeepa Vennam et al.
  • 1Institute for the Environment, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 2Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • anow at: Ramboll, Novato, CA, USA

Abstract. Given the increasing role of intercontinental and higher altitude emissions influence on surface air quality, it is important to understand the transport characteristics of these emissions both for policy and mitigation strategies. The horizontal and vertical transport of directly emitted upper troposphere anthropogenic cruise altitude aircraft emissions (CAAE) has not been well understood due to limited studies. Therefore, in this study we conducted tracer simulations for key source regions in the Northern hemisphere to understand the transport and influence of CAAE on surface air quality. Our results from Northern hemisphere simulations highlight that <0.6% of CAAE tracer mass fraction occur near the surface even after 90 days of transport time. 30–40% of tracers are found in the upper and mid-troposphere with slightly higher downward transport occurring during winter than summer season. The tagged source tracer simulations illustrated the source-receptor relationships and showed that ~10–50% source contributions occur in downwind receptor regions.

Lakshmi Pradeepa Vennam et al.
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Lakshmi Pradeepa Vennam et al.
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Short summary
This study uses tagged tracer simulations to quantify the magnitudes of upper altitude aviation emissions that get transported to the surface. We show that only 0.6 % of these are found at surface after 90 days, and 30–40 % remain in mid-troposphere. Our findings will challenge prior studies that showed high aviation-attributable health risk, elucidate the role of aviation emissions in atmospheric composition and surface air quality, and help put these in context with other anthropogenic sources.
This study uses tagged tracer simulations to quantify the magnitudes of upper altitude aviation...
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