Chemical climatology of air pollutants at Pico Mountain Observatory

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Pico Mountain Observatory (PMO) was established in 2001 on top of Pico Mountain (38.47°N, 28.40°W, 2,225 m a.s.l.) in the Azores Islands. PMO frequently samples free troposphere air over the Central North Atlantic. Long-range transport from neighboring continents impacts the concentration of air pollutants at PMO, but North American outflows have the most frequent influence due to predominantly westerly wind in mid-latitude regions of the Northern Hemisphere. This study summarizes observations of gases and aerosol since the station was established and combines transport patterns simulated by FLEXPART with observations to investigate chemical signatures of transport patterns. As the first step, FLEXPART backward retroplumes released from PMO will be created for the periods covered by our observation datasets. These results will be used to determine and classify sources of the transported air for long time periods. Seasonal variations in sources and transport pathways will be examined. This information is critical to understand variations in air pollutant observations at PMO, because sources and transport trajectories define age and composition of air plumes that arrive at PMO. In the second step, transport associated with certain chemical signatures, e.g., elevated ozone combined with depressed CO, will be extracted, and transport patterns will be identified for each classified chemical signature. The analysis will reveal correlations between transport patterns and elevation of air pollutants at PMO, which will help to understand measurement datasets of multiple air pollutants. Impacts of anthropogenic and biomass burning emissions on CO concentration at PMO will also be determined through multiplying retroplumes with emission inventories. Long-term trends in impacts from both sources will be examined to find potential correlations with recently implemented air quality regulations, occurrence of wildfires, and global climate change.

Publisher's Statement

Publisher's version of record: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2013AGUFM.A31C0091Z

Publication Title

Fall Meeting 2013