Articles | Volume 11, issue 23
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11993–12006, 2011
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 11, 11993–12006, 2011

Research article 02 Dec 2011

Research article | 02 Dec 2011

Transpacific transport of benzo[a]pyrene emitted from Asia

Y. Zhang1,*, S. Tao1, J. Ma2, and S. Simonich3,4 Y. Zhang et al.
  • 1Laboratory for Earth Surface Processes, College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • 2Air Quality Research Division, Science and Technology Branch, Environment Canada, 4905 Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario M3H 5T4, Canada
  • 3Department of Chemistry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
  • 4Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA
  • *now at: Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

Abstract. A global-scale three dimensional atmospheric transport and chemistry model was applied to simulate transpacific transport of Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) emitted from Asia. The model results were compared with observations at six monitoring sites. The annual mean and seasonal variation of transport patterns and the contributions of different Asian source regions to transpacific transport flux were investigated. The episodic nature of transpacific transport was also systematically explored. Interannual variability of transpacific transport of BaP was also assessed during the period of 1948–2007. Results showed that strong enhancements of modeled BaP occurred in an area bounded by 70–80° E and 100–120° E. Air containing these elevated BaP concentrations was then delivered eastward by westerly winds. When approaching the West Coast of North America, the descending atmospheric motion carried BaP-laden air into the lower atmosphere. The transpacific transport flux was 1.6 times higher in the winter than in the summer. East Asian emission dominates the transpacific transport flux with a contribution of about 97%. Near ground concentration of BaP induced by Asian sources in North America varied between 1–20 pg m−3. A case study for observation at Cheeka Peak Observatory during March 2002–May 2002 reveals the importance of warm conveyor belt for transpacific transport. The number of days with transpacific transport flux with a factor of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2.0 larger than the running mean were 9.4%, 0.72%, 0.06% and 0.01%, respectively, implying a mild contribution of episodic transport to the long-term mean transport flux. Significant interannual fluctuation of transpacific transport of BaP was found, including a general decreasing trend during 1948–2007, and especially after the 1970s. The transpacific transport was found to be positively correlated with the Southern Oscillation Index.

Final-revised paper