Rapid transport of East Asian pollution to the deep tropics

M. J. Ashfold, J. A. Pyle, A. D. Robinson, E. Meneguz, Mohd Shahrul Mohd Nadzir, S. M. Phang, A. A. Samah, S. Ong, H. E. Ung, L. K. Peng, S. E. Yong, N. R P Harris

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Abstract

Anthropogenic emissions from East Asia have increased over recent decades. These increases have led to changes in atmospheric composition as far afield as North America under the prevailing westerly winds. Here we show that, during Northern Hemisphere (NH) winter, pollution originating in East Asia also directly affects atmospheric composition in the deep tropics. We present observations of marked intra-seasonal variability in the anthropogenic tracer perchloroethene (C<inf>2</inf>Cl<inf>4</inf>) collected at two locations in Borneo (117.84° E, 4.98° N and 118.00° E, 4.22° N) during the NH winter of 2008/2009. We use trajectories calculated with the Numerical Atmospheric-dispersion Modelling Environment to show that the observed enhancements in C<inf>2</inf>Cl<inf>4</inf> mixing ratio are caused by rapid meridional transport, in the form of "cold surges", from the relatively polluted East Asian land mass. In these events air masses can move from ∼35° N to Borneo in 4 days. We then present data from the Monitoring Atmospheric Composition and Climate reanalysis which suggest that air masses high in C<inf>2</inf>Cl<inf>4</inf> may also contain levels of the pollutants carbon monoxide and ozone that are approximately double the typical "background" levels in Borneo. In addition to strengthening the meridional transport from the north, cold surges can enhance convection in Southeast Asia, and further trajectory calculations indicate that the polluted air masses can subsequently be lifted to the tropical upper troposphere. This suggests a potentially important connection between midlatitude pollution sources and the very low stratosphere.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3565-3573
Number of pages9
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Volume15
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2015

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air mass
pollution
Northern Hemisphere
trajectory
winter
background level
pollutant source
westerly
carbon monoxide
mixing ratio
stratosphere
troposphere
convection
tracer
ozone
pollutant
climate
monitoring
modeling
tropics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

Cite this

Ashfold, M. J., Pyle, J. A., Robinson, A. D., Meneguz, E., Mohd Nadzir, M. S., Phang, S. M., ... Harris, N. R. P. (2015). Rapid transport of East Asian pollution to the deep tropics. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 15(6), 3565-3573. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-3565-2015

Rapid transport of East Asian pollution to the deep tropics. / Ashfold, M. J.; Pyle, J. A.; Robinson, A. D.; Meneguz, E.; Mohd Nadzir, Mohd Shahrul; Phang, S. M.; Samah, A. A.; Ong, S.; Ung, H. E.; Peng, L. K.; Yong, S. E.; Harris, N. R P.

In: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Vol. 15, No. 6, 31.03.2015, p. 3565-3573.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Ashfold, MJ, Pyle, JA, Robinson, AD, Meneguz, E, Mohd Nadzir, MS, Phang, SM, Samah, AA, Ong, S, Ung, HE, Peng, LK, Yong, SE & Harris, NRP 2015, 'Rapid transport of East Asian pollution to the deep tropics', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 3565-3573. https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-15-3565-2015
Ashfold, M. J. ; Pyle, J. A. ; Robinson, A. D. ; Meneguz, E. ; Mohd Nadzir, Mohd Shahrul ; Phang, S. M. ; Samah, A. A. ; Ong, S. ; Ung, H. E. ; Peng, L. K. ; Yong, S. E. ; Harris, N. R P. / Rapid transport of East Asian pollution to the deep tropics. In: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 2015 ; Vol. 15, No. 6. pp. 3565-3573.
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AU - Mohd Nadzir, Mohd Shahrul

AU - Phang, S. M.

AU - Samah, A. A.

AU - Ong, S.

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