Date of Award


Document Type

Master's report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Shiliang Wu


We investigate how declines in US emissions of CO and O3 precursors have impacted the lower free troposphere over the North Atlantic. We use seasonal observations for O3 and CO from the PICO-NARE project for the period covering 2001 to 2010. Observations are used to verify model output generated by the GEOS-Chem 3-D global chemical transport model. Additional satellite data for CO from AIRS/Aqua and for O3 from TES/Aura were also used to provide additional comparisons; particularly for fall, winter, and spring when PICO-NARE coverage is sparse. We find GEOS-Chem captures the seasonal cycle for CO and O3 well compared to PICO-NARE data. For CO, GEOS-Chem is biased low, particularly in spring which is in agreement with findings from previous studies. GEOS-Chem is 24.7 +/- 5.2 ppbv (1-σ) low compared to PICO-NARE summer CO data while AIRS is 14.2 +/- 6.6 ppbv high. AIRS does not show nearly as much variation as seen with GEOS-Chem or the Pico data, and goes from being lower than PICO-NARE data in winter and spring, to higher in summer and fall. Both TES and GEOS-Chem match the seasonal ozone cycle well for all seasons when compared with observations. Model results for O3 show GEOS-Chem is 6.67 +/- 2.63 ppbv high compared to PICO-NARE summer measurements and TES was 3.91 +/- 4.2 ppbv higher. Pico data, model results, and AIRS all show declines in CO and O3 for the summer period from 2001 to 2010. Limited availability of TES data prevents us from using it in trend analysis. For summer CO Pico, GEOS-Chem, and AIRS results show declines of 1.32, 0.368, and 0.548 ppbv/year respectively. For summer O3, Pico and GEOS-Chem show declines of -0.726 and -0.583 ppbv/year respectively. In other seasons, both model and AIRS show declining CO, particularly in the fall. GEOS-Chem results show a fall decline of 0.798 ppbv/year and AIRS shows a decline of 0.8372 ppbv/year. Winter and spring CO declines are 0.393 and 0.307 for GEOS-Chem, and 0.455 and 0.566 for AIRS. GEOS-Chem shows declining O3 in other seasons as well; with fall being the season of greatest decrease and winter being the least. Model results for fall, winter, and spring are 0.856, 0.117, and 0.570 ppbv/year respectively. Given the availability of data we are most confident in summer results and thus find that summer CO and O3 have declined in lower free troposphere of the North Atlantic region of the Azores. Sensitivity studies for CO and O3 at Pico were conducted by turning off North American fossil fuel emissions in GEOS-Chem. Model results show that North America fossil fuel emissions contribute 8.57 ppbv CO and 4.03 ppbv O3 to Pico. The magnitude of modeled trends declines in all seasons without North American fossil fuel emissions except for summer CO. The increase in summer CO declines may be due to a decline of 5.24 ppbv/year trend in biomass burning emissions over the study period; this is higher than the 2.33 ppbv/year North American anthropogenic CO model decline. Winter O3 is the only season which goes from showing a negative trend to a positive trend.