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Transport and outflow to the North Atlantic in the lower marine troposphere during ICARTT 2004

Author(s): S. R. Davis | R. Talbot | H. Mao

Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions
ISSN 1680-7367

Volume: 12;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 2395;
Date: 2012;
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An analysis of pollution plumes emitted from sources in the Northeastern US was based on observations from the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation (ICARTT) 2004 field campaign. Particular attention was given to the relation of these plumes to coastal transport patterns in lower tropospheric layers throughout the Gulf of Maine (GOM) and their contribution to large-scale pollution outflow from the North American continent. Using measurements obtained during a series of flights of the NOAA WP-3D and the NASA DC-8, a unique quasi-lagrangian case study was conducted for a freshly emitted plume emanating from the New York City source region in late July 2004. The initial development of this plume stemmed from the accumulation of boundary layer pollutants within a coastal residual layer where weak synoptic forcing triggered its advection by mean southwesterly flow. As the plume tracked into the GOM, analysis showed that the plume layer vertical structure evolved into an internal boundary layer form, with signatures of steep vertical gradients in temperature, moisture and wind speed often resulting in periodic turbulence. This structure remained well-defined during the plume study, allowing for the detachment of the plume layer from the surface and thus minimal deposition and plume-sea surface exchange. In contrast, lateral mixing with other low-level plumes was significant during its transit and facilitated in part by persistent shear driven turbulence which further contributed to the high spatial variability in trace gas mixing ratios. The impact of the plume inland was assessed using observations from the AIRMAP air quality network. This impact was noticeably detected as a contribution to poor surface ozone conditions and significant elevations of other major pollutants to levels equaling the highest observed that summer. Further contributions to larger-scale outflow across the North Atlantic was also observed and analyzed.
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