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Trends and sources of ozone and sub-micron aerosols at the Mt. Bachelor Observatory (MBO) during 2004–2015

In this paper, we report the climatology of tropospheric ozone (O3) and sub-micron aerosol scattering at the Mt. Bachelor Observatory (MBO, 2.8 km asl) in central Oregon, USA, during 2004e2015. The seasonal cycle for O3 showed a bimodal pattern with peaks in April and July, while aerosol scattering (ssp) was lognormally distributed with a very high peak in August and a smaller peak in May. The mean O3 concentrations showed positive and significant trends in all seasons except winter, with a slope of 0.6 e0.8 ppbv yr1. Monthly criteria for isolating free tropospheric (FT) and boundary layer influenced (BLI) air masses at MBO were obtained based on comparison of MBO water vapor (WV) distributions to those of Salem (SLE) and Medford (MFR), Oregon, at equivalent pressure level. In all seasons, FT O3 was, on average, higher than BLI O3, but the seasonal patterns were rather similar. For ssp the FT mean in spring was higher, but the BLI mean in summer was significantly higher, indicating the importance of regional wildfire smoke.
To better understand the causes for the seasonal and interannual trends at MBO, we identified four major categories of air masses that impact O3, carbon monoxide (CO) and aerosols: upper troposphere and lower stratosphere (UTLS) O3 intrusion, Asian long-range transport (ALRT), Arctic air pollution (AAP) and plumes from the Pacific Northwest region (PNW). ALRT and PNW plumes can be further divided into wildfires (WF), industrial pollution (IP) and mineral dust (MD). Over the 12 years of observations, 177 individual plume events have been identified. Enhancement ratios (ERs) and Ångstrom exponents (AEs) €
of aerosols were calculated for all events. The lowest slope of Dssp/DO3 is a unique feature of UTLS events. PNW-WF events have the highest averages for Dssp/DCO, Dssp/DO3 and Dssp/DNOy compared to other events. These ERs decrease during long-range transport due to the shorter residence time of aerosols compared to the other pollutants. ALRT-WF events have lower absorption AEs (Åap) than PNW-WF, implying that brown carbon (BrC) is generated from biomass burning but its fraction decreases during long-range transport. Signatures of ERs and AEs are useful tools to identify different plume categories. These results demonstrate the increasing impact of baseline O3 on US air quality due to both global sources and regional wildfire events.


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