Chemical and Trajectory Analysis of an Air Mass Plume from Asia

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jing Jean Guo1, Josette Elizabeth Marrero2 and Donald Ray Blake2, (1)Columbia University of New York, Palisades, NY, United States, (2)University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA, United States
Tracking the source of pollution events is important in understanding the transport of pollution plumes and impact on areas far from the source. Previous studies have shown that the rising contribution of Asian air pollution to the US has increased the number of days that pollution events exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). Whole air samples collected over the Edwards Air Force Base during a June 2014 NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) flight exhibited enhancements in the concentrations of several compounds between 23-32 thousand feet. Chemical tracer analysis of these high altitude samples reveal that the air does not correspond to California emitted air. Chemical signatures in the plume, including high levels of OCS, chloroform, and methyl chloride, and low levels of methyl bromide, indicate that the plume was most heavily influence by coal combustion with contributions from biomass burning events from Asia. Low concentrations of ethene at the high altitude despite enhanced concentrations of ethane and ethyne suggest that this plume was aged. Further analysis of the plume using meteorological wind trajectories reveal that the plume had originated in China approximately 4-5 days prior. This is faster than results from previous studies that had found a Spring transport time of approximately 6 days.