Reconciliation and interpretation of the Big Bend National Park light extinction source apportionment: results from the Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational Study--part II.

Abstract

The recently completed Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational (BRAVO) Study focused on particulate sulfate source attribution for a 4-month period from July through October 1999. A companion paper in this issue by Schichtel et al. describes the methods evaluation and results reconciliation of the BRAVO Study sulfate attribution approaches. This paper summarizes the BRAVO Study extinction budget assessment and interprets the attribution results in the context of annual and multiyear causes of haze by drawing on long-term aerosol monitoring data and regional transport climatology, as well as results from other investigations. Particulate sulfates, organic carbon, and coarse mass are responsible for most of the haze at Big Bend National Park, whereas fine particles composed of light-absorbing carbon, fine soils, and nitrates are relatively minor contributors. Spring and late summer through fall are the two periods of high-haze levels at Big Bend. Particulate sulfate and carbonaceous compounds contribute in a similar magnitude to the spring haze period, whereas sulfates are the primary cause of haze during the late summer and fall period. Atmospheric transport patterns to Big Bend vary throughout the year, resulting in a seasonal cycle of different upwind source regions contributing to its haze levels. Important sources and source regions for haze at Big Bend include biomass smoke from Mexico and Central America in the spring and African dust during the summer. Sources of sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions in Mexico, Texas, and in the Eastern United States all contribute to Big Bend haze in varying amounts over different times of the year, with a higher contribution from Mexican sources in the spring and early summer, and a higher contribution from U.S. sources during late summer and fall. Some multiple-day haze episodes result from the influence of several source regions, whereas others are primarily because of emissions from a single source region.

Cite this paper

@article{Pitchford2005ReconciliationAI, title={Reconciliation and interpretation of the Big Bend National Park light extinction source apportionment: results from the Big Bend Regional Aerosol and Visibility Observational Study--part II.}, author={Marc L Pitchford and Bret A Schichtel and Kristi A Gebhart and Michael G Barna and William C. Malm and Ivar H Tombach and Eladio M. Knipping}, journal={Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association}, year={2005}, volume={55 11}, pages={1726-32} }