Quantifying variability, source, and transport of CO in the urban areas over the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Abstract. Atmospheric pollutants over the Himalayas and Tibetan Plateau (HTP) have potential implications for accelerating the melting of glaciers, damaging air quality, water sources and grasslands, and threatening climate on regional and global scales. Improved knowledge of the variabilities, sources, drivers and transport pathways of atmospheric pollutants over the HTP is significant for regulatory and control purposes. In this study, we quantify the variability, source, and transport of CO
... n the urban areas over the HTP by using in situ measurement, GEOS-Chem model tagged CO simulation, and the analysis of meteorological fields. Diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variabilities of CO over the HTP are investigated with ∼ 6 years (January 2015 to July 2020) of surface CO measurements in eight cities over the HTP. Annual mean of surface CO volume mixing ratio (VMR) over the HTP varied over 318.3 ± 71.6 to 901.6 ± 472.2 ppbv, and a large seasonal cycle was observed with high levels of CO in the late autumn to spring and low levels of CO in summer to early autumn. The diurnal cycle is characterized by a bimodal pattern with two maximums in later morning and midnight, respectively. Surface CO VMR from 2015 to 2020 in most cities over the HTP showed negative trends. The IASI satellite observations are for the first time used to assess the performance of the GEOS-Chem model for the specifics of the HTP. The GEOS-Chem simulations tend to underestimate the IASI observations but can capture the measured seasonal cycle of CO total column over the HTP. Distinct dependencies of CO on a short lifetime species of NO2 in almost all cities over the HTP were observed, implying local emissions to be predominant. By turning off the emission inventories within the HTP in GEOS-Chem tagged CO simulation, the relative contribution of long-range transport was evaluated. The results showed that transport ratios of primary anthropogenic source, primary biomass burning (BB) source, and secondary oxidation source to the surface CO VMR over the HTP varied over 35 % to 61 %, 5 % to 21 %, and 30 % to 56 %, respectively. The anthropogenic contribution is dominated by the South Asia and East Asia (SEAS) region throughout the year (58 % to 91 %). The BB contribution is dominated by the SEAS region in spring (25 % to 80 %) and the Africa (AF) region in July–February (30 %–70 %). This study concluded that the main source of CO in urban areas over the HTP is due to local and SEAS anthropogenic and BB emissions and oxidation sources, which differ from the black carbon that is mainly attributed to the BB source from South-East Asia. The decreasing trends in surface CO VMR since 2015 in most cities over the HTP are attributed to the reduction in local and transported CO emissions in recent years.