ADABBOY: African Dust And Biomass Burning Over Yucatan

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  • 1 Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
  • | 2 Droplet Measurement Technologies, LLC, Longmont, Colorado, USA
  • | 3 Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
  • | 4 Facultad de Química, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Márida, Yucatán, Mexico
  • | 5 Instituto de Física, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico City, Mexico
  • | 6 Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • | 7 Instituto de Ingeniería, Unidad Académica de Sisal, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sisal, Yucatán, México
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Abstract

Biomass burning (BB) emissions and African dust (AD) are often associated with poor regional air quality, particularly in the tropics. The Yucatan Peninsula is a fairly pristine site due to predominant trade winds, but occasionally BB and AD plumes severely degrade its air quality. The African Dust And Biomass Burning Over Yucatan (ADABBOY) project (Jan 2017- Aug 2018) was conducted in the Yucatan Peninsula to characterize physical and biological properties of particulate pollution at remote seaside and urban sites. The 18-month long project quantified the large interannual variability in frequency and spatial extent of BB and AD plumes. Remote and urban sites experienced air quality degradation under the influence of these plumes, with up to 200 and 300% increases in coarse particle mass under BB and AD influence, respectively. ADABBOY is the first project to systematically characterize elemental composition of airborne particles as a function of these sources and identify bioaerosol over Yucatan. Bacteria, actinobacteria (both continental and marine) and fungi propagules vary seasonally and interannually and revealed the presence of very different species and genera associated with different sources. A novel contribution of ADABBOY was the determination of the ice-nucleating abilities of particles emitted by different sources within an under-sampled region of the world. BB particles were found to be inefficient ice nucleating particles at temperatures warmer than -20°C, whereas both AD and background marine aerosol activated ice nucleating particles below -10°C.

Corresponding author: Darrel Baumgardner, darrel.baumgardner@gmail.com

Abstract

Biomass burning (BB) emissions and African dust (AD) are often associated with poor regional air quality, particularly in the tropics. The Yucatan Peninsula is a fairly pristine site due to predominant trade winds, but occasionally BB and AD plumes severely degrade its air quality. The African Dust And Biomass Burning Over Yucatan (ADABBOY) project (Jan 2017- Aug 2018) was conducted in the Yucatan Peninsula to characterize physical and biological properties of particulate pollution at remote seaside and urban sites. The 18-month long project quantified the large interannual variability in frequency and spatial extent of BB and AD plumes. Remote and urban sites experienced air quality degradation under the influence of these plumes, with up to 200 and 300% increases in coarse particle mass under BB and AD influence, respectively. ADABBOY is the first project to systematically characterize elemental composition of airborne particles as a function of these sources and identify bioaerosol over Yucatan. Bacteria, actinobacteria (both continental and marine) and fungi propagules vary seasonally and interannually and revealed the presence of very different species and genera associated with different sources. A novel contribution of ADABBOY was the determination of the ice-nucleating abilities of particles emitted by different sources within an under-sampled region of the world. BB particles were found to be inefficient ice nucleating particles at temperatures warmer than -20°C, whereas both AD and background marine aerosol activated ice nucleating particles below -10°C.

Corresponding author: Darrel Baumgardner, darrel.baumgardner@gmail.com
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