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Aggregation of Selected Three-Day Periods to Estimate Annual and Seasonal Wet Deposition Totals for Sulfate, Nitrate, and Acidity. Part I: A Synoptic and Chemical Climatology for Eastern North America

Jeffrey R. BrookAtmospheric Environment Service, Downsview, Ontario, Canada

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Perry J. SamsonDepartment of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Sanford SillmanDepartment of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

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Abstract

Running 3-day periods from 1979 to 1985 were categorised into one of 20 meteorological categories. These categories were developed through the cluster analysis of 3-day progressions of 85-kPa wind flow over eastern North America. The purpose for developing the categories was to identify recurring atmospheric transport patterns that were associated with differing amounts of wet sulfate (SO2−4) and nitrate (NO3) deposition at a variety of locations in eastern North America. Identification of these patterns was necessary to facilitate the selection of time periods for simulation by the Regional Acid Deposition Model and in the development of a method for estimating long-term acidic deposition over eastern North America from a limited number of model runs. The effectiveness of this method (referred to as the aggregation method) was expected to be dependent on the ability of the categories to separate structure in wet deposition patterns. This paper describes the determination of the 20 meteorological categories and demonstrates that there were differences in their meteorological and chemical behavior and in their frequency of occurrence. Observations of precipitation and wet SO2−4 and NO3 deposition from 22 sites in eastern North America and multiple regression models were used to demonstrate that there were statistically significant differences in deposition among categories and that knowledge of meteorological category explained some of the variation in wet deposition. The best statistical correlation, which was based upon precipitation amount, time of year, and meteorological category, explained 35%–83% (28%– 76%) of the observed variation in wet SO2−4 (NO3) deposition depending on location. On average, across all sites and for both SO2−4 and NO3, knowledge of category accounted for about 4% of the variation. The minimum amount explained by category was 1% and the maximum was 13%.

Abstract

Running 3-day periods from 1979 to 1985 were categorised into one of 20 meteorological categories. These categories were developed through the cluster analysis of 3-day progressions of 85-kPa wind flow over eastern North America. The purpose for developing the categories was to identify recurring atmospheric transport patterns that were associated with differing amounts of wet sulfate (SO2−4) and nitrate (NO3) deposition at a variety of locations in eastern North America. Identification of these patterns was necessary to facilitate the selection of time periods for simulation by the Regional Acid Deposition Model and in the development of a method for estimating long-term acidic deposition over eastern North America from a limited number of model runs. The effectiveness of this method (referred to as the aggregation method) was expected to be dependent on the ability of the categories to separate structure in wet deposition patterns. This paper describes the determination of the 20 meteorological categories and demonstrates that there were differences in their meteorological and chemical behavior and in their frequency of occurrence. Observations of precipitation and wet SO2−4 and NO3 deposition from 22 sites in eastern North America and multiple regression models were used to demonstrate that there were statistically significant differences in deposition among categories and that knowledge of meteorological category explained some of the variation in wet deposition. The best statistical correlation, which was based upon precipitation amount, time of year, and meteorological category, explained 35%–83% (28%– 76%) of the observed variation in wet SO2−4 (NO3) deposition depending on location. On average, across all sites and for both SO2−4 and NO3, knowledge of category accounted for about 4% of the variation. The minimum amount explained by category was 1% and the maximum was 13%.

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