Taehwa Research Forest: a receptor site for severe domestic pollution events in Korea during 2016
During the May–June 2016 International Cooperative Air Quality Field Study in Korea (KORUS-AQ), light synoptic meteorological forcing facilitated Seoul metropolitan pollution outflow to reach the remote Taehwa Research Forest (TRF) site and cause regulatory exceedances of ozone on 24 days. Two of these severe pollution events are thoroughly examined. The first, occurring on 17 May 2016, tracks transboundary pollution transport exiting eastern China and the Yellow Sea, traversing the Seoul Metropolitan Area (SMA), and then reaching TRF in the afternoon hours with severely polluted conditions. This case study indicates that although outflow from China and the Yellow Sea were elevated with respect to chemically unperturbed conditions, the regulatory exceedance at TRF was directly linked in time, space, and altitude to urban Seoul emissions. The second case studied, which occurred on 9 June 2016, reveals that increased levels of biogenic emissions, in combination with amplified urban emissions, were associated with severe levels of pollution and a regulatory exceedance at TRF. In summary, domestic emissions may be causing more pollution than by transboundary pathways, which have been historically believed to be the major source of air pollution in South Korea. The case studies are assessed with multiple aircraft, model (photochemical and meteorological) simulations, in situ chemical sampling, and extensive ground-based profiling at TRF. These observations clearly identify TRF and the surrounding rural communities as receptor sites for severe pollution events associated with Seoul outflow, which will result in long-term negative effects to both human health and agriculture in the affected areas.