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Air pollution during the 2003 European heat wave as seen by MOZAIC airliners

by M. Tressol, C. Ordonez, R. Zbinden, V. Thouret, C. Mari, P. Nedelec, J.-P. Cammas, H. Smit, H.-W. Patz, A. Volz-Thomas show all authors
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions ()

Abstract

This study presents an analysis of both MOZAIC profiles above Frankfurt and Lagrangian dispersion model simulations for the 2003 European heat wave. The comparison of MOZAIC measurements in summer 2003 with the 11-year MOZAIC climatology reflects strong temperature anomalies (exceeding 4◦C) throughout the lower troposphere. Higher positive anomalies of temperature and negative anomalies of both wind speed and relative humidity are found for the period defined here as the heat wave (2–14 August 2003), compared to the periods before (16–31 July 2003) and after (16–31 August 2003) the heat wave. In addition, Lagrangian model simulations in backward mode indicate the suppressed long-range transport in the mid- to lower troposphere and the enhanced southern origin of air masses for all tropospheric levels during the heat wave. Ozone and carbon monoxide also present strong anomalies (both ∼+40 ppbv) during the heat wave, with a maximum vertical extension reaching 6 km altitude around 11 August 2003. Pollution in the planetary boundary layer (PBL) is enhanced during the day, with ozone mixing ratios two times higher than climatological values. This is due to a combination of factors, such as high temperature and radiation, stagnation of air masses and weak dry deposition, which favour the accumulation of ozone precursors and the build-up of ozone. A negligible role of a stratospheric-origin ozone tracer has been found for the lower troposphere in this study. From 29 July to 15 August 2003 forest fires burnt around 0.3×106 ha in Portugal and added to atmospheric pollution in Europe. Layers with enhanced CO and NOy mixing ratios, advected from Portugal, were crossed by the MOZAIC aircraft in the free troposphere over Frankfurt. A series of forward and backward Lagrangian model simulations have been performed to investigate the origin of anomalies dur- Correspondence to: M. Tressol (marc.tressol@aero.obs-mip.fr) ing the whole heat wave. European anthropogenic emissions present the strongest contribution to the measured CO levels in the lower troposphere (near 30%). This source is followed by Portuguese forest fires which affect the lower troposphere after 6 August 2003 and even the PBL around 10 August 2003. The averaged biomass burning contribution reaches 35% during the affected period. Anthropogenic CO of North American origin only marginally influences CO levels over Europe during that period.

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