Trace gas transport and scavenging in PEM-Tropics B South Pacific Convergence Zone convection

Kenneth E. Pickering, Anne M. Thompson, Hyuncheol Kim, Alex J. DeCaria, Leonhard Pfister, Tom L. Kucsera, Jacquelyn C. Witte, Melody A. Avery, Donald R. Blake, James H. Crawford, Brian G. Heikes, Glen W. Sachse, Scott T. Sandholm, Robert W. Talbot

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38 Scopus citations


Analysis of chemical transport on Flight 10 of the 1999 Pacific Exploratory Mission (PEM) Tropics B mission clarifies the role of the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) in establishing ozone and other trace gas distributions in the southwestern tropical Pacific. The SPCZ is found to be a barrier to mixing in the lower troposphere but a mechanism for convective mixing of tropical boundary layer air from northeast of the SPCZ with upper tropospheric air arriving from the west. A two-dimensional cloud-resolving model is used to quantify three critical processes in global and regional transport: convective mixing, lightning NOx production, and wet scavenging of soluble species. Very low NO and O3 tropical boundary layer air from the northeastern side of the SPCZ entered the convective updrafts and was transported to the upper troposphere where it mixed with subtropical upper tropospheric air containing much larger NO and O3 mixing ratios that had arrived from Australia. Aircraft observations show that very little NO appears to have been produced by electrical discharges within the SPCZ convection. We estimate that at least 90% of the HNO3 and H2O2 that would have been in upper tropospheric cloud outflow had been removed during transport through the cloud. Lesser percentages are estimated for less soluble species (e.g., <50% for CH3OOH). Net ozone production rates were decreased in the upper troposphere by ∼60% due to the upward transport and outflow of low-NO boundary layer air. However, this outflow mixed with much higher NO air parcels on the southwest edge of the cloud, and the mixture ultimately possessed a net ozone production potential intermediate between those of the air masses on either side of the SPCZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2001JD000328
Pages (from-to)32591-32607
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres
Issue numberD23
StatePublished - Dec 16 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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