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Impact of North America on the aerosol composition in the North Atlantic free troposphere

AuthorsGarcía, M. Isabel; Rodríguez, Sergio Betancourt; Alastuey, Andrés
Air quality
Ozone levels
Aerosol composition
Issue Date20-Jun-2017
PublisherCopernicus Publications
CitationAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics 17 (12): 7387-7404 (2017)
AbstractIn the AEROATLAN project we study the composition of aerosols collected over ∼ 5 years at Izaña Observatory (located at ∼ 2400ma.s.l. in Tenerife, the Canary Islands) under the prevailing westerly airflows typical of the North Atlantic free troposphere at subtropical latitudes and midlatitudes. Mass concentrations of sub-10μm aerosols (PM10) carried by westerly winds to Izaña, after transatlantic transport, are typically within the range 1.2 and 4.2μgmĝ'3 (20th and 80th percentiles). The main contributors to background levels of aerosols (PM10 within the 1st-50th percentiles Combining double low line 0.15-2.54μgmĝ'3) are North American dust (53%), non-sea-salt sulfate (14%) and organic matter (18%). High PM10 events (75th-95th percentiles ≈ 4.0-9.0μgmĝ'3) are prompted by dust (56%), organic matter (24%) and non-sea-salt sulfate (9%). These aerosol components experience a seasonal evolution explained by (i) their spatial distribution in North America and (ii) the seasonal shift of the North American outflow, which migrates from low latitudes in winter (∼ 32°N, January-March) to high latitudes in summer (∼ 52°N, August-September). The westerlies carry maximum loads of non-sea-salt sulfate, ammonium and organic matter in spring (March-May), of North American dust from midwinter to mid-spring (February-May) and of elemental carbon in summer (August-September). Our results suggest that a significant fraction of organic aerosols may be linked to sources other than combustion (e.g. biogenic); further studies are necessary for this topic. The present study suggests that long-term evolution of the aerosol composition in the North Atlantic free troposphere will be influenced by air quality policies and the use of soils (potential dust emitter) in North America. © The Author(s) 2017.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-7387-2017
Appears in Collections:(IDAEA) Artículos
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