An elevated reservoir of air pollutants over the Mid-Atlantic States during the...

He, H., C. P. Loughner, J. W. Stehr, H. Arkinson, L. C. Brent, M. B. Follette-Cook, M. A. Tzortziou, K. Pickering, A. M. Thompson, D. Martins, G. S. Diskin, B. E. Anderson, T. J. Crawford, A. Weinheimer, P. Lee, J. C. Hains, and R. Dickerson (2014), An elevated reservoir of air pollutants over the Mid-Atlantic States during the 2011 DISCOVER-AQ campaign: Airborne measurements and numerical simulations, Atmos. Environ., 85, 18-30, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2013.11.039.

During a classic heat wave with record high temperatures and poor air quality from July 18 to 23, 2011, an elevated reservoir of air pollutants was observed over and downwind of Baltimore, MD, with relatively clean conditions near the surface. Aircraft and ozonesonde measurements detected w120 ppbv ozone at 800 m altitude, but w80 ppbv ozone near the surface. High concentrations of other pollutants were also observed around the ozone peak: w300 ppbv CO at 1200 m, w2 ppbv NO2 at 800 m, w5 ppbv SO2 at 600 m, and strong aerosol optical scattering (2  104 m1) at 600 m. These results suggest that the elevated reservoir is a mixture of automobile exhaust (high concentrations of O3, CO, and NO2) and power plant emissions (high SO2 and aerosols). Back trajectory calculations show a local stagnation event before the formation of this elevated reservoir. Forward trajectories suggest an influence on downwind air quality, supported by surface ozone observations on the next day over the downwind PA, NJ and NY area. Meteorological observations from aircraft and ozonesondes show a dramatic veering of wind direction from south to north within the lowest 5000 m, implying that the development of the elevated reservoir was caused in part by the Chesapeake Bay breeze. Based on in situ observations, CMAQ forecast simulations with 12 km resolution overestimated surface ozone concentrations and failed to predict this elevated reservoir; however, CMAQ research simulations with 4 km and 1.33 km resolution more

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Tropospheric Composition Program (TCP)