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Volume 8, issue 11
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 2999–3014, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-8-2999-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: MILAGRO/INTEX-B 2006

Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 2999–3014, 2008
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-8-2999-2008
© Author(s) 2008. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  17 Jun 2008

17 Jun 2008

Analysis of aircraft and satellite measurements from the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment (INTEX-B) to quantify long-range transport of East Asian sulfur to Canada

A. van Donkelaar1, R. V. Martin1,2, W. R. Leaitch3, A. M. Macdonald3, T. W. Walker1,4, D. G. Streets5, Q. Zhang5, E. J. Dunlea6, J. L. Jimenez6, J. E. Dibb7, L. G. Huey8, R. Weber8, and M. O. Andreae9 A. van Donkelaar et al.
  • 1Dept. of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Canada
  • 2Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, USA
  • 3Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, Canada
  • 4Dept. of Physics, University of Toronto, Canada
  • 5Decision and Information Sciences Division, Argonne National Laboratory, USA
  • 6Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado, USA
  • 7Climate Change Research Center/EOS, University of New Hampshire, USA
  • 8School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
  • 9Biogeochemistry Department, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Germany

Abstract. We interpret a suite of satellite, aircraft, and ground-based measurements over the North Pacific Ocean and western North America during April–May 2006 as part of the Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment Phase B (INTEX-B) campaign to understand the implications of long-range transport of East Asian emissions to North America. The Canadian component of INTEX-B included 33 vertical profiles from a Cessna 207 aircraft equipped with an aerosol mass spectrometer. Long-range transport of organic aerosols was insignificant, contrary to expectations. Measured sulfate plumes in the free troposphere over British Columbia exceeded 2 μg/m3. We update the global anthropogenic emission inventory in a chemical transport model (GEOS-Chem) and use it to interpret the observations. Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) retrieved from two satellite instruments (MISR and MODIS) for 2000–2006 are analyzed with GEOS-Chem to estimate an annual growth in Chinese sulfur emissions of 6.2% and 9.6%, respectively. Analysis of aircraft sulfate measurements from the NASA DC-8 over the central Pacific, the NSF C-130 over the east Pacific and the Cessna over British Columbia indicates most Asian sulfate over the ocean is in the lower free troposphere (800–600 hPa), with a decrease in pressure toward land due to orographic effects. We calculate that 56% of the measured sulfate between 500–900 hPa over British Columbia is due to East Asian sources. We find evidence of a 72–85% increase in the relative contribution of East Asian sulfate to the total burden in spring off the northwest coast of the United States since 1985. Campaign-average simulations indicate anthropogenic East Asian sulfur emissions increase mean springtime sulfate in Western Canada at the surface by 0.31 μg/m3 (~30%) and account for 50% of the overall regional sulfate burden between 1 and 5 km. Mean measured daily surface sulfate concentrations taken in the Vancouver area increase by 0.32 μg/m3 per 10% increase in the simulated fraction of Asian sulfate, and suggest current East Asian emissions episodically degrade local air quality by more than 1.5 μg/m3.

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