Oltmans, S. J., A.S. Lefohn, J. M. Harris, D.W. Tarasick, A.M. Thompson, H. Wernli, B. J. Johnson, P. C. Novelli, S. A. Montzka, J.D. Ray, L. Patrick, C. Sweeney, A. Jefferson, T. Dann, J. Davies, I. Shapiro and B.N. Holben, (2010), Enhanced ozone over western North America from biomass burning in Eurasia during April 2008 as seen in surface and profile observations, Atmospheric Environment, 44, 35, 4497-4509, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.07.004


During April 2008, as part of the International Polar Year (IPY), a number of ground-based and aircraft campaigns were carried out in the North American Arctic region (e.g., ARCTAS, ARCPAC). The widespread presence during this period of biomass burning effluent, both gaseous and particulate, has been reported. Unusually high ozone readings for this time of year were recorded at surface ozone monitoring sites from northern Alaska to northern California. At Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States, the highest April ozone readings recorded at the surface (hourly average values >55 ppbv) in 37 years of observation were measured on April 19, 2008. At Denali National Park in central Alaska, an hourly average of 79 ppbv was recorded during an 8-h period in which the average was over 75 ppbv, exceeding the ozone ambient air quality standard threshold value in the U.S. Elevated ozone (>60 ppbv) persisted almost continuously from April 1923 at the monitoring site during this event. At a coastal site in northern California (Trinidad Head), hourly ozone readings were >50 ppbv almost continuously for a 35-h period from April 1820. At several sites in northern California, located to the east of Trinidad Head, numerous occurrences of ozone readings exceeding 60 ppbv were recorded during April 2008. Ozone profiles from an extensive series of balloon soundings showed lower tropospheric features at 16 km with enhanced ozone during the times of elevated ozone amounts at surface sites in western Canada and the U.S. Based on extensive trajectory calculations, biomass burning in regions of southern Russia was identified as the likely source of the observed ozone enhancements. Ancillary measurements of atmospheric constituents and optical properties (aerosol optical thickness) supported the presence of a burning plume at several locations. At two coastal sites (Trinidad Head and Vancouver Island), profiles of a large suite of gases were measured from airborne flask samples taken during probable encounters with burning plumes. These profiles aided in characterizing the vertical thickness of the plumes, as well as confirming that the plumes reaching the west coast of North America were associated with biomass burning events.