Large-scale air mass characteristics observed over Western Pacific during summertime

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Remote and in situ measurements of gases and aerosols were made with airborne instrumentation to investigate the sources and sinks of tropospheric gases and aerosols over the western Pacific during the NASA Global Tropospheric Experiment (GTE)/Pacific Exploratory Mission-West A (PEM-West A) conducted in September-October 1991. This paper discusses the general characteristics of the air masses encountered during this experiment using an airborne lidar system for measurements of the large-scale variations in ozone (03) and aerosol distributions across the troposphere and airborne in situ instrumentation for comprehensive measurements of air mass composition. In low latitudes of the western Pacific the airflow was generally from the east, and under these conditions the air was observed to have low aerosol loading and low ozone levels throughout the troposphere. Ozone was found to be below 10 parts per billion volume (ppbv) near the surface to 40-50 ppbv in the middle to upper troposphere. In the middle and high latitudes the airflow was mostly westerly, and the background 03 was generally less than 55 ppbv. On 60% of the PEM-West A flights, 03 was observed to exceed these levels in regions that were determined to be associated with stratospheric intrusions. In convective outflows from typhoons, near-surface air with low ozone (<25 ppbv) was transported into the upper troposphere (>10 km). Several cases of continental plumes from Asia were observed over the Pacific during westerly flow conditions. These plumes were found in the lower troposphere with ozone levels in the 60-80 ppbv range and enhanced aerosol scattering. At low latitudes over the central Pacific the troposphere primarily contained air with background or low ozone levels; however, stratospherically influenced air with enhanced ozone (40-60 ppbv) was observed several times in the lower troposphere. The frequency of observation of the air masses and their average chemical composition are also discussed in this paper. Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.

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Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres