Articles | Volume 10, issue 15
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 7415–7423, 2010
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 7415–7423, 2010

  09 Aug 2010

09 Aug 2010

The contribution of marine organics to the air quality of the western United States

B. Gantt1, N. Meskhidze1, and A. G. Carlton2 B. Gantt et al.
  • 1Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
  • 2Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Laboratory Environmental Protection Agency, RTP, NC, USA

Abstract. The contribution of marine organic emissions to the air quality in coastal areas of the western United States is studied using the latest version of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regional-scale Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQv4.7) modeling system. Emissions of marine isoprene, monoterpenes, and primary organic matter (POM) from the ocean are implemented into the model to provide a comprehensive view of the connection between ocean biology and atmospheric chemistry and air pollution. Model simulations show that marine organics can increase the concentration of PM2.5 by 0.1–0.3 μg m−3 (up to 5%) in some coastal cities such as San Francisco, CA. This increase in the PM2.5 concentration is primarily attributed to the POM emissions, with small contributions from the marine isoprene and monoterpenes. When marine organic emissions are included, organic carbon (OC) concentrations over the remote ocean are increased by up to 50% (25% in coastal areas), values consistent with recent observational findings. This study is the first to quantify the air quality impacts from marine POM and monoterpenes for the United States, and it highlights the need for inclusion of marine organic emissions in air quality models.

Final-revised paper