Attributing and quantifying carbon monoxide sources affecting the Eastern Mediterranean: a combined satellite, modelling, and synoptic analysis study
Pollutants from global sources are known to affect the Eastern Mediterranean Shore (EMS). However, there has been no previous study explicitly locating the European sources, characterizing their transport pathways, and quantifying their contribution to local concentrations in the EMS. In the current study, spatially tagged carbon monoxide was used as a tracer for pollutant transport from Europe to the EMS over five consecutive years (2003–2007) using the global chemical transport model MOZART-4. The model results were compared against NOAA/GMD ground station data and remotely sensed data from the Terra/MOPITT satellite and found to agree well on monthly basis but do not agree on daily basis. On synoptic scale, there is agreement between MOZART and GMD during July to August. A budget analysis reveals the role of CO from hydrocarbon oxidation on CO concentration during summer. European anthropogenic emissions were found to significantly influence EM surface concentrations, while European biomass burning (BB) emissions were found to have only a small impact on EM surface concentrations. Over the five simulated years, only two European biomass burning episodes contributed more than 10 ppb to surface CO concentrations in the EM. CO enhancement in the EM during the summer was attributed to synoptic conditions prone to favorable transport from Turkey and Eastern Europe towards the EM rather than increased emissions. We attribute the apparently misleading association between CO emitted from European BB and CO enhancements over the EM to typical summer synoptic conditions caused by the lingering of an anticyclone positioned over the Western and Central Mediterranean Basin that lead to forest fires in the area. Combined with a barometric trough over the eastern part of the Mediterranean Basin, this generates a prevailing transport of air masses from Eastern Europe to the EMS. Synoptic scale variations are shown to change the transport pathways from Europe towards the EMS having an overall small affect. CO concentration over the EMS can be describe as having 3 components: the seasonal cycle, the cycle of CO produced from hydrocarbon oxidation and a synoptic variation.