Articles | Volume 17, issue 1
Research article
05 Jan 2017
Research article |  | 05 Jan 2017

Variations in O3, CO, and CH4 over the Bay of Bengal during the summer monsoon season: shipborne measurements and model simulations

Imran A. Girach, Narendra Ojha, Prabha R. Nair, Andrea Pozzer, Yogesh K. Tiwari, K. Ravi Kumar, and Jos Lelieveld

Abstract. We present shipborne measurements of surface ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), and methane (CH4) over the Bay of Bengal (BoB), the first time such measurements have been performed during the summer monsoon season, as a part of the Continental Tropical Convergence Zone (CTCZ) experiment during 2009. O3, CO, and CH4 mixing ratios exhibited significant spatial and temporal variability in the ranges of 8–54 nmol mol−1, 50–200 nmol mol−1, and 1.57–2.15 µmol mol−1, with means of 29.7 ± 6.8 nmol mol−1, 96 ± 25 nmol mol−1, and 1.83 ± 0.14 µmol mol−1, respectively. The average mixing ratios of trace gases over BoB in air masses from central/northern India (O3: 30 ± 7 nmol mol−1; CO: 95 ± 25 nmol mol−1; CH4: 1.86 ± 0.12 µmol mol−1) were not statistically different from those in air masses from southern India (O3: 27 ± 5 nmol mol−1; CO: 101 ± 27 nmol mol−1; CH4: 1.72 ± 0.14 µmol mol−1). Spatial variability is observed to be most significant for CH4 with higher mixing ratios in the air masses from central/northern India, where higher CH4 levels are seen in the SCIAMACHY (SCanning Imaging Absorption spectroMeter for Atmospheric CartograpHY) data. O3 mixing ratios over the BoB showed large reductions (by  ∼  20 nmol mol−1) during four rainfall events. Temporal changes in the meteorological parameters, in conjunction with O3 vertical profile, indicate that these low-O3 events are associated with downdrafts of free-tropospheric O3-poor air masses. While the observed variations of O3 and CO are successfully reproduced using the Weather Research and Forecasting model with Chemistry (WRF-Chem), this model overestimates mean concentrations by about 6 and 16 % for O3 and CO, respectively, generally overestimating O3 mixing ratios during the rainfall events. An analysis of modelled O3 along air mass trajectories show mean en route O3 production rate of about 4.6 nmol mol−1 day−1 in the outflow towards the BoB. Analysis of the various tendencies from model simulations during an event on 10 August 2009, reproduced by the model, shows horizontal advection rapidly transporting O3-rich air masses from near the coast across the BoB. This study fills a gap in the availability of trace gas measurements over the BoB and, when combined with data from previous campaigns, reveals large seasonal amplitude ( ∼  39 and  ∼  207 nmol mol−1 for O3 and CO, respectively) over the northern BoB.

Short summary
This study presents first ship-borne measurements of trace gases over the Bay of Bengal during summer monsoon. The observed variations in trace gases are shown to be due to dynamics/transport and en route photochemistry. Analysis of meteorological and chemical fields shows that significantly lower ozone during rainfall is associated with the downdrafts. A regional model reproduces the observed variations and revealed the rapid transport of ozone across the Bay of Bengal during an event.
Final-revised paper