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  • Author or Editor: Kenneth E. Pickering x
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Anne M. Thompson, Wei-Kuo Tao, Kenneth E. Pickering, John R. Scala, and Joanne Simpson

Theoretical studies, aircraft, and space-borne measurements show that deep convection can be an effective conduit for introducing reactive surface pollutants into the free troposphere. The chemical consequences of convective systems are complex. For example, sensitivity studies show potential for both enhancement and diminution of ozone formation. Field observations of cloud and mesoscale phenomena have been investigated with the Goddard Cumulus Ensemble and Tropospheric Chemistry models. Case studies from the tropical ABLE 2, STEP, and TRACE-A experiments show that free tropospheric ozone formation should increase when deep convection and urban or biomass burning pollution coincide, and decrease slightly in regions relatively free of ozone precursors (often marine). Confirmation of post-convective ozone enhancement in the free troposphere over Brazil, the Atlantic, and southern Africa was a major accomplishment of the September–October 1992 TRACE-A (Transport and Atmospheric Chemistry near the Equator—Atlantic) aircraft mission. A flight dedicated to cloud outflow showed that deep convection led to a factor of 3–4 increase in upper tropospheric ozone formation downwind. Analysis of ozonesondes during TRACE-A was consistent with 20%–30% of seasonally enhanced ozone over the South Atlantic being supplied by a combination of biomass burning emissions, lightning, and deep convection over South America. With the Tropics the critical region for troposphere-to-stratosphere transfer of pollutants, these results have implications for the total ozone budget. Cloud-scale analyses will guide the development of more realistic regional and global chemical-transport models to assess the full impact of deep convection on atmospheric chemical composition.

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Mary C. Barth, Christopher A. Cantrell, William H. Brune, Steven A. Rutledge, James H. Crawford, Heidi Huntrieser, Lawrence D. Carey, Donald MacGorman, Morris Weisman, Kenneth E. Pickering, Eric Bruning, Bruce Anderson, Eric Apel, Michael Biggerstaff, Teresa Campos, Pedro Campuzano-Jost, Ronald Cohen, John Crounse, Douglas A. Day, Glenn Diskin, Frank Flocke, Alan Fried, Charity Garland, Brian Heikes, Shawn Honomichl, Rebecca Hornbrook, L. Gregory Huey, Jose L. Jimenez, Timothy Lang, Michael Lichtenstern, Tomas Mikoviny, Benjamin Nault, Daniel O’Sullivan, Laura L. Pan, Jeff Peischl, Ilana Pollack, Dirk Richter, Daniel Riemer, Thomas Ryerson, Hans Schlager, Jason St. Clair, James Walega, Petter Weibring, Andrew Weinheimer, Paul Wennberg, Armin Wisthaler, Paul J. Wooldridge, and Conrad Ziegler


The Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) field experiment produced an exceptional dataset on thunderstorms, including their dynamical, physical, and electrical structures and their impact on the chemical composition of the troposphere. The field experiment gathered detailed information on the chemical composition of the inflow and outflow regions of midlatitude thunderstorms in northeast Colorado, west Texas to central Oklahoma, and northern Alabama. A unique aspect of the DC3 strategy was to locate and sample the convective outflow a day after active convection in order to measure the chemical transformations within the upper-tropospheric convective plume. These data are being analyzed to investigate transport and dynamics of the storms, scavenging of soluble trace gases and aerosols, production of nitrogen oxides by lightning, relationships between lightning flash rates and storm parameters, chemistry in the upper troposphere that is affected by the convection, and related source characterization of the three sampling regions. DC3 also documented biomass-burning plumes and the interactions of these plumes with deep convection.

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