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Photochemical trajectory modeling studies of the North Atlantic region during August 1993

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • O Wild
  • KS Law
  • DS McKenna
  • BJ Bandy
  • SA Penkett
  • JA Pyle
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>20/12/1996
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Issue numberD22
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)29269-29288
<mark>Original language</mark>English


A Lagrangian photochemical trajectory model has been used to assess the factors affecting O-3 production during transport of polluted air masses across the North Atlantic Ocean. Sensitivity studies have been performed along idealized trajectories, and it is found that the potential impact of North American emission sources is maximized by transport of air at high altitudes, in drier conditions and in conditions where mixing of the air with background air masses is relatively limited. Measurements taken from the NCAR King Air aircraft as part of the North Atlantic Regional Experiment (NARE) August 1993 intensive have been used to initialize forward trajectories, calculated using European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting analyzed wind fields, from eastern North America to assess O-3 production over the Atlantic during this period. The effects of dilution of a polluted air parcel with air from the upper troposphere have also been studied, and the contribution of photochemical O-3 production to the air mass composition is found to be smaller than that of dilution, particularly for long trajectories and for conditions where dilution is relatively rapid or involves air from the stratosphere. Measurements taken from the Meteorological Research Flight Hercules aircraft over the eastern Atlantic as part of the Oxidizing Capacity of the Tropospheric Atmosphere campaign have been examined in the light of these studies. A backward trajectory analysis has been performed from one of the vertical profiles taken off the coast of Portugal on August 31, 1993, to assess the origin of the different air masses intercepted. While the lower levels are characteristic of air from the European boundary layer advected over the ocean, the upper levels show strong evidence for anthropogenic influence from North American sources, with elevated levels of O-3, NOy, CO, and aerosol. Although it cannot be concluded that this air mass definitely originated from over North America, the measured concentrations are shown to be consistent with those for an air mass from this source region experiencing some mixing with air masses in the upper troposphere.

Bibliographic note

Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union