Articles | Volume 17, issue 2
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 1491–1509, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-1491-2017
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 17, 1491–1509, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-17-1491-2017

Research article 31 Jan 2017

Research article | 31 Jan 2017

Transport of pollution to a remote coastal site during gap flow from California's interior: impacts on aerosol composition, clouds, and radiative balance

Andrew C. Martin1,*, Gavin C. Cornwell2,*, Samuel A. Atwood3, Kathryn A. Moore2,a, Nicholas E. Rothfuss4, Hans Taylor4, Paul J. DeMott3, Sonia M. Kreidenweis3, Markus D. Petters4, and Kimberly A. Prather1,2 Andrew C. Martin et al.
  • 1Climate Atmospheric Science and Physical Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • 2Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
  • 3Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA
  • 4Department of Marine Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
  • anow at: School of Chemistry, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK
  • *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Abstract. During the CalWater 2015 field campaign, ground-level observations of aerosol size, concentration, chemical composition, and cloud activity were made at Bodega Bay, CA, on the remote California coast. A strong anthropogenic influence on air quality, aerosol physicochemical properties, and cloud activity was observed at Bodega Bay during periods with special weather conditions, known as Petaluma Gap flow, in which air from California's interior is transported to the coast. This study applies a diverse set of chemical, cloud microphysical, and meteorological measurements to the Petaluma Gap flow phenomenon for the first time. It is demonstrated that the sudden and often dramatic change in aerosol properties is strongly related to regional meteorology and anthropogenically influenced chemical processes in California's Central Valley. In addition, it is demonstrated that the change in air mass properties from those typical of a remote marine environment to properties of a continental regime has the potential to impact atmospheric radiative balance and cloud formation in ways that must be accounted for in regional climate simulations.

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Short summary
Anthropogenic influence on air quality, aerosol properties, and cloud activity was observed at Bodega Bay, CA, during periods when air from California's interior was transported to the coast. The sudden change in aerosol properties can impact atmospheric radiative balance and cloud formation in ways that must be accounted for in regional climate simulations.
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