Impact of Bay-Breeze Circulations on Surface Air Quality and Boundary Layer Export

Christopher P. Loughner * Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Maria Tzortziou * Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Melanie Follette-Cook NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland

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Kenneth E. Pickering NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland

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Daniel Goldberg Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

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Chinmay Satam Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

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Andrew Weinheimer ** National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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James H. Crawford NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

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David J. Knapp ** National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Denise D. Montzka ** National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Glenn S. Diskin NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia

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Russell R. Dickerson Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, College Park, Maryland

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Abstract

Meteorological and air-quality model simulations are analyzed alongside observations to investigate the role of the Chesapeake Bay breeze on surface air quality, pollutant transport, and boundary layer venting. A case study was conducted to understand why a particular day was the only one during an 11-day ship-based field campaign on which surface ozone was not elevated in concentration over the Chesapeake Bay relative to the closest upwind site and why high ozone concentrations were observed aloft by in situ aircraft observations. Results show that southerly winds during the overnight and early-morning hours prevented the advection of air pollutants from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan areas over the surface waters of the bay. A strong and prolonged bay breeze developed during the late morning and early afternoon along the western coastline of the bay. The strength and duration of the bay breeze allowed pollutants to converge, resulting in high concentrations locally near the bay-breeze front within the Baltimore metropolitan area, where they were then lofted to the top of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Near the top of the PBL, these pollutants were horizontally advected to a region with lower PBL heights, resulting in pollution transport out of the boundary layer and into the free troposphere. This elevated layer of air pollution aloft was transported downwind into New England by early the following morning where it likely mixed down to the surface, affecting air quality as the boundary layer grew.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Christopher P. Loughner, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, NASA/GSFC Code 614, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: christopher.p.loughner@nasa.gov

Abstract

Meteorological and air-quality model simulations are analyzed alongside observations to investigate the role of the Chesapeake Bay breeze on surface air quality, pollutant transport, and boundary layer venting. A case study was conducted to understand why a particular day was the only one during an 11-day ship-based field campaign on which surface ozone was not elevated in concentration over the Chesapeake Bay relative to the closest upwind site and why high ozone concentrations were observed aloft by in situ aircraft observations. Results show that southerly winds during the overnight and early-morning hours prevented the advection of air pollutants from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, metropolitan areas over the surface waters of the bay. A strong and prolonged bay breeze developed during the late morning and early afternoon along the western coastline of the bay. The strength and duration of the bay breeze allowed pollutants to converge, resulting in high concentrations locally near the bay-breeze front within the Baltimore metropolitan area, where they were then lofted to the top of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Near the top of the PBL, these pollutants were horizontally advected to a region with lower PBL heights, resulting in pollution transport out of the boundary layer and into the free troposphere. This elevated layer of air pollution aloft was transported downwind into New England by early the following morning where it likely mixed down to the surface, affecting air quality as the boundary layer grew.

The National Center for Atmospheric Research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Corresponding author address: Christopher P. Loughner, Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, NASA/GSFC Code 614, Greenbelt, MD 20771. E-mail: christopher.p.loughner@nasa.gov
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