Ten-day backward trajectories are used to determine the origins of air parcels arriving at airborne DC-8 chemical measurement sites during NASA's Pacific Exploratory Mission-Tropics A (PEM-T) that was conducted during August-October 1996. Those sites at which the air had a common geographical origin and transport history are grouped together, and statistical measures of chemical characteristics are computed. Temporal changes in potential temperature are used to determine whether trajectories experience a significant convective influence during the 10-day period. Those trajectories that do not experience a significant convective influence are divided into four geographical categories depending on their origins and paths. Air parcels originating over Africa and South America are characterized by enhanced mixing ratios of O3, CO, HNO3, and PAN. The backward trajectories travel at high altitudes (∼10–11 km), covering long distances due to strong upper-tropospheric westerly winds. The observed enhancement of combustion-related species is attributed to biomass burning from distant sources to the west, extending even to South America. The relatively large value of Be-7 probably is due either to less efficient removal of aerosols from upper tropospheric air or to small stratospheric contributions. Aged marine parcels are found to have relatively small concentrations of burning-related species. Although these trajectories arrive at a wide range of aircraft altitudes, they do not pass over a land mass during the preceding 10-day period. Air passing over Australia but no other land mass exhibits a combustion signature; however, photochemical product species such as O3 and PAN are less enhanced than in the long-range transport category. These trajectories travel shorter distances and are at lower altitudes (∼5–8 km) than those reaching Africa and/or South America. The combustion influence on these parcels is attributed to biomass burning emissions injected over Australia. That burning is less widespread than in Africa and South America. Finally, trajectories originating over Southeast Asia appear to receive a weak combustion influence. However, compared to Africa and South America, Southeast Asia has a relatively small incidence of biomass burning. There is little combustion input from Australia due to the high transport altitudes compared to the lower heights of the convection. The Southeast Asian parcels exhibit the greatest NOx to ∑NOi ratio of any category, perhaps due to lightning. Parcels experiencing a significant convective influence also are examined. Most of these parcels pass through widespread, persistent convection along either the South Pacific Convergence Zone or Intertropical Convergence Zone approximately 5 days prior to arriving at the aircraft locations. Thus the category mostly represents marine convection. Mixing ratios of peroxides and acids in the convective category are found to be smaller than in parcels not experiencing convection. Small mixing ratios of Be-7 and Pb-210 suggest particle removal by precipitation.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres



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Copyright 1999 by the American Geophysical Union.