We investigate the sources, prevalence, and fine-particle inorganic composition of biosmoke over the western Pacific Ocean between 24 February and 10 April 2001. The analysis is based on highly time-resolved airborne measurements of gaseous and fine- particle inorganic chemical composition made during the NASA Transport and Chemical Evolution over the Pacific (TRACE-P) experiment. At latitudes below approximately 25 deg. N, relatively pure biomass burning plumes of enhanced fine-particle potassium, nitrate, ammonium, light-absorbing aerosols, and CO concentrations were observed in plumes that back trajectories and satellite fire map data suggest originated from biomass burning in southeast Asia. Fine-particle water-soluble potassium (K+) is confirmed to be a unique biosmoke tracer, and its prevalence throughout the experiment indicates that approximately 20% of the TRACE-P Asian outflow plumes were influenced, to some extent, by biomass or biofuel burning emissions. At latitudes above 25 deg. N, highly mixed urban/industrial and biosmoke plumes, indicated by SO(sup 2, sub 4) and K+, were observed in 5 out of 53 plumes. Most plumes were found in the Yellow Sea and generally were associated with much higher fine-particle loadings than plumes lacking a biosmoke influence. The air mass back trajectories of these mixed plumes generally pass through the latitude range of between 34 deg. and 40 deg. N on the eastern China coast, a region that includes the large urban centers of Beijing and Tianjin. A lack of biomass burning emissions based on fire maps and high correlations between K+ and pollution tracers (e.g., S(sup 2, sub 4) suggest biofuel sources. Ratios of fine-particle potassium to sulfate are used to provide an estimate of relative contributions of biosmoke emissions to the mixed Asian plumes. The ratio is highly correlated with fine-particle volume (r(sup 2) = 0.85) and predicts that for the most polluted plume encounter in TRACE-P, approximately 60% of the plume is associated with biosmoke emissions. On average, biosmoke contributes approximately 35-40% to the measured fine inorganic aerosol mass in the mixed TRACE-P plumes intercepted north of 25% latitude.
Journal of Geophysical Research (ISSN 0148-0227); 108; D21; 37-1 - 37-16