Model study of tropospheric trace species distributions during PEM-West A

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A three-dimensional mesoscale transport/photochemical model is used to study the transport and photochemical transformation of trace species over eastern Asia and western Pacific for the period from September 20 to October 6, 1991, of the Pacific Exploratory Mission-West A experiment. The influence of emissions from the continental boundary layer that was evident in the observed trace species distributions in the lower troposphere over the ocean is well simulated by the model. In the upper troposphere, species such as O3, NOy (total reactive nitrogen species), and SO2 which have a significant source in the stratosphere are also simulated well in the model, suggesting that the upper tropospheric abundances of these species are strongly influenced by stratospheric fluxes and upper tropospheric sources. In the case of SO2 the stratospheric flux is identified to be mostly from the Mount Pinatubo eruption. Concentrations in the upper troposphere for species such as CO and hydrocarbons, which are emitted in the continental boundary layer and have a sink in the troposphere, are significantly underestimated by the model. Two factors have been identified to contribute significantly to the underestimate: one is emissions upwind of the model domain (eastern Asia and western Pacific); the other is that vertical transport is underestimated in the model. Model results are also grouped by back trajectories to study the contrast between compositions of marine and continental air masses. The model-calculated altitude profiles of trace species in continental and marine air masses are found to be qualitatively consistent with observations. However, the difference in the median values of trace species between continental air and marine air is about twice as large for the observed values as for model results. This suggests that the model underestimates the outflow fluxes of trace species from the Asian continent and the Pacific rim countries to the ocean. Observed altitude profiles for species like CO and hydrocarbons show a negative gradient in continental air and a positive gradient in marine air. A mechanism which may be responsible for the altitude gradients is proposed.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres