Chemical Characterization of Aerosols on the East Coast of the United States...

Castanho, A. D. D., J. V. Martins, P. V. Hobbs, P. Artaxo, L. Remer, M. Yamasoe, and P. R. Colarco (2005), Chemical Characterization of Aerosols on the East Coast of the United States Using Aircraft and Ground-Based Stations during the CLAMS Experiment, J. Atmos. Sci., 62, 934-946.

The Chesapeake Lighthouse and Aircraft Measurements for Satellites (CLAMS) experiment was carried out off the central East Coast of the United States in July 2001. During CLAMS, aerosol particle mass was measured at two ground stations and on the University of Washington’s Convair 580 research aircraft. Physical and chemical characteristics of the aerosols were identified and quantified. Three main aerosol regimes were identified in the region and are discussed in this work: local pollution/sea salt background, long-range transported dust, and long-range transported pollution. The major component measured in the fine mode of the aerosol on the ground at Wallops Island, Virginia, was sulfate, estimated as NH4HSO4, which accounted for 55% Ϯ 9% on average of the fine particle mass (FPM) during the experiment period. Black carbon concentrations accounted for 3% Ϯ 1% of FPM; soil dust was also present, representing on average 6% Ϯ 8% of FPM. The difference between the sum of the masses of the measured compounds and the total fine particle mass was 36% Ϯ 10% of FPM, which is attributed primarily to nitrates and organic carbon that were not measured. Aerosol chemical composition in the atmospheric column is also discussed and compared with ground-based measurements. Aerosol dust concentration reached 40% of FPM during an incursion of Saharan dust between 24 and 26 July. Sulfate aerosol reached 70% of FPM during the transport of regional pollution on 17 July. Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aerosol optical thickness, coupled with air parcel back trajectories, supported the conclusion of episodes of long-range transport of dust from the Sahara Desert and pollutants from the continental United States.