Measurement of free tropospheric aerosols in the North Atlantic at the Pico Mountain Observatory

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Conference Proceeding

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The Pico Mountain Observatory is located at 2225 m amsl on an inactive volcano at Pico Island in the Azores archipelago in the North Atlantic ~3900 km east and downwind of North America (38º28'15''N; 28º24’'14''W). The unique location of the Observatory enables sampling of free tropospheric air transported over long, intercontinental distances and is rarely affected by local emissions. The Observatory is affected mainly by North American outflow after its trans-Atlantic transport. Therefore, its location is ideal for observations of long-range transported pollutants emitted from anthropogenic and biogenic continental sources. The composition of continental pollution outflow is altered during transport by mixing, chemical reactions, phase changes, and removal processes. Thus, the properties of aerosol and trace gases in downwind regions are impacted by the outflow of pollutants, their chemical transformation, and sinks. In previous work, the sampled air-mass measurements (including CO, O3, NOx, NOy, NMHC, black carbon and aerosol optical size) and the simulations of their dispersion indicated outflow of North American tropospheric ozone and its precursors. Although the measurements have been crucial in explaining the evolution of North American gaseous pollution, little is known regarding the nature of the aged aerosol. New work is currently underway at the Observatory to provide chemical characterization of the intercepted free tropospheric aerosols. Here, we show the preliminary results of the free tropospheric aerosol composition and its physical properties. Samples were collected using high-volume filter samplers with quartz filters and analyzed for organic and elemental carbon (OC and EC, respectively). We compare the observed OC and EC values to the collocated measurements of gas- and particle-phase species, meteorological parameters and to the values found in current literature. We highlight the future work in which we will select filter samples based on the arrival of highly polluted air masses from anthropological or biomass burning emissions for further detailed analysis.

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Publication Title

AAAR 31st Annual Conference