Impact of Asian emissions on the remote North Pacific atmosphere: Interpretation of CO data from Shemya, Guam, Midway and Mauna Loa

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In this study we look at the concentration of CO at four remote stations in the North Pacific to evaluate the impact of Asian industrial emissions on the remote atmosphere. Using a locally weighted smoothing technique to identify individual data outliers from the seasonal cycle, we have identified 22-92 outliers or "events" (greater than 5 ppbv above the seasonal cycle) at each site for the 3-6 year data records. Using isentropic back trajectories, we identify a possible source region for each event and present a distribution of the trajectory types. For the events at Midway, Mauna Loa, Guam, and Shemya, we are able to identify a source region for the elevated CO in 82, 72, 65, and 50% of the events, respectively. At Mauna Loa and Midway a majority of the events occur during spring and are usually associated with transport from Asia. These events bring the highest CO mixing ratios observed at any time during the year to these sites, with CO enhancements up to 46 ppb. At Guam, easterly trade winds are the norm, but occasionally synoptic events bring Asian emissions to the island, generally during late summer and fall, from either East Asia or Southeast Asia (e.g., Indonesia). These events bring with them the largest CO enhancements of any of the four sites considered in this paper, up to 58 ppb. Finally, to examine the robustness of our conclusions, we redo our analysis using the more stringent definition that an event must be either 10 or 15 ppb above the seasonal cycle. Although this reduces the number of events identified at each site, it does not significantly change the fraction of events which can be attributed to a known source.

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Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres