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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-212
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-212
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 20 May 2019

Submitted as: research article | 20 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP).

Trans-Pacific transport and evolution of aerosols: Spatiotemporal characteristics and source contributions

Zhiyuan Hu1, Jianping Huang1, Chun Zhao2, Yuanyuan Ma3, Qinjian Jin4, Yun Qian5, L. Ruby Leung5, Jianrong Bi1, and Jianmin Ma1 Zhiyuan Hu et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory for Semi-Arid Climate Change of the Ministry of Education, College of Atmospheric Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 2School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China
  • 3Key Laboratory of Land-surface Process and Climate Change in Cold and Arid Regions, Northwest Institute of Ecoenvironment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Science, Lanzhou 730000, China
  • 4Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA
  • 5Atmospheric Sciences and Global Change Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA

Abstract. Aerosols in the mid- and upper-troposphere have a long enough lifetime for trans-Pacific transport from East Asia to North America to influence air quality in the West Coast of the United States (US). Here, we conduct quasi-global simulations (180° W–180° E and 70° S–75° N) from 2010 to 2014 using an updated version of WRF-Chem (Weather Research and Forecasting model fully coupled with chemistry) to analyze the spatiotemporal characteristics and source contributions of trans-Pacific aerosol transport. We find that trans-Pacific total aerosols have a maximum mass concentration (about 15 𝜇g m−3) in the boreal spring with a peak between 3 and 4 km above the surface around 40° N. Sea-salt and dust dominate the total aerosol mass concentration below 1 km and above 4 km, respectively. About 80.8 Tg of total aerosols (48.7 Tg of dust) are exported annually from East Asia, of which 26.7 Tg of aerosols (13.4 Tg of dust) reach the West Coast of the US. Dust contributions from four desert regions in the Northern Hemisphere are analyzed using a tracer-tagging technique. About 4.9, 3.9, and 4.5 Tg year−1 of dust aerosol emitted from North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia, and East Asia, respectively, can be transported to the West Coast of the US. The trans-Pacific aerosols dominate the column-integrated aerosol mass (~ 65.5 %) and number concentration (~ 80 %) over the western North America. Radiation budget analysis shows that the inflow aerosols could contribute about 86.4 % (−2.91  W m−2) at the surface, 85.5 % (+1.36 W m−2) in the atmosphere and 87.1 % (−1.55 W m−2) at the top of atmosphere to total aerosol radiative effect over western North America. However, near the surface in the central and eastern North America, aerosols are mainly derived from local emissions and the radiative effect of imported aerosols decreases rapidly. This study motivates further investigations of the potential impacts of trans-Pacific aerosols from East Asia on regional air quality and hydrological cycle in North America.

Zhiyuan Hu et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Short summary
This study investigates aerosol chemical compositions and relative contributions to total aerosols in the western US. The results show that trans-Pacific aerosols have a maximum concentration in the boreal spring with the greatest contribution from dust. Over the western North America, the trans-Pacific aerosols dominate the column-integrated aerosol mass and number concentration. However, near the surface, aerosols are mainly originated from local emissions.
This study investigates aerosol chemical compositions and relative contributions to total...
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