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Airborne, in situ measurements from PEM-Tropics-A (September/October 1996) are analyzed to show the presence of distinct pollution plumes in the middle-tropical troposphere of the remote South Pacific (10–30°S). These elevated plumes cause a relative maximum at about 5–7 km altitude in the vertical distribution of primary and secondary species characteristic of fuel combustion and biomass burning (CO, C2H2, C2H6, CH3Cl, PAN, O3). Similar plumes were also observed at mid-latitudes in the middle troposphere during three flights east of New Zealand (40–45°S). In all, pollution plumes with CO larger than 100 ppb were observed 24 times on seven separate flight days south of the equator. The observed plumes were frequently embedded in very dry air. Ten-day back trajectory analysis supports the view that these originated from the biomass burning regions of South Africa (and South America) and were transported to the South Pacific along long-distance subsiding trajectories. The chemical composition of the southern Pacific troposphere analyzed from the PEM-Tropics-A data is compared with data from the tropical regions of the northern Pacific (PEM-West-A) and southern Atlantic (TRACE-A) during the same Sept/Oct time period. Sizable perturbations in the abundance of ozone and its key precursors, resulting from the transport of pollution originating from biomass burning sources, are observed in much of the Southern Hemispheric troposphere.

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