A case study of aerosol scavenging in a biomass burning plume over eastern Canada during the 2011 BORTAS field experiment
We present measurements of a long-range smoke transport event recorded on 20–21 July 2011 over Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, during the Quantifying the impact of BOReal forest fires on Tropospheric oxidants over the Atlantic using Aircraft and Satellites (BORTAS-B) campaign. Ground-based Fourier transform spectrometers and photometers detected air masses associated with large wildland fires burning in eastern Manitoba and western Ontario.
We investigate a plume with high trace gas amounts but low amounts of particles that preceded and overlapped at the Halifax site with a second plume with high trace gas loadings and significant amounts of particulate material. We show that the first plume experienced a meteorological scavenging event, but the second plume had not been similarly scavenged. This points to the necessity to account carefully for the plume history when considering long-range transport since simultaneous or near-simultaneous times of arrival are not necessarily indicative of either similar trajectories or meteorological history. We investigate the origin of the scavenged plume, and the possibility of an aerosol wet deposition event occurring in the plume ~ 24 h prior to the measurements over Halifax. The region of lofting and scavenging is only monitored on an intermittent basis by the present observing network, and thus we must consider many different pieces of evidence in an effort to understand the early dynamics of the plume. Through this discussion we also demonstrate the value of having many simultaneous remote-sensing measurements in order to understand the physical and chemical behaviour of biomass burning plumes.