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Long-range Transport

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Atmospheric Composition and Air Quality


The lifetime of air pollutants in the troposphere ranges from minutes to hours at the surface, and days to weeks in the free troposphere. Therefore, natural as well as human-induced emissions can influence atmospheric composition on local, regional, and even hemispheric scales. Weather events that influence chemical formation and transport pathways can vary according to climate variability and change. “Good” ozone from the stratosphere can be transported down into the troposphere, even raising “bad” ozone levels in surface air.

GFDL Research

GFDL’s global chemistry-climate models, in combination with various observations, help us to explore interactions among emissions, chemical transformations, long-range transport, and climate. Advancing this knowledge is crucial for designing effective international air pollution control strategies, as well as for assessing the impacts of climate variability and climate change on atmospheric composition.

We seek to understand how variability and trends in emissions and atmospheric circulation affect intercontinental transport of anthropogenic pollution and stratosphere-to-troposphere transport of ozone. We combine sophisticated chemistry-climate models with satellite and in situ observations to understand factors controlling the long-range transport of gas-phase and aerosol (particle) pollutants and the resulting impacts on climate. The influence of long-range transport is compared with that of locally- or regionally-generated pollution. In addition, our scientists aim to understand how historical and future climate variability and climate change will affect the long-range transport and distributions of pollutants.

Featured Results


  • Meiyun Lin, A.M. Fiore, L.W. Horowitz, A.O. Langford, S. J. Oltmans, D. Tarasick, H.E. Reider. Climate variability modulates western U.S. ozone air quality in spring via deep stratospheric intrusions, Nature Communications, 6:7105, doi:10.1038/ncomms8105 , 2015
  • Li, X., J. Liu, D. L. Mauzerall, L. K. Emmons, S. Walters, L. W. Horowitz, and S. Tao, Effects of trans-Eurasian transport of air pollutants on surface ozone concentrations over Western China, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 119, 12,338-12,354, doi:10.1002/2014JD021936, 2014.
  • Meiyun Lin, L.W. Horowitz, S. J. Oltmans, A. M. Fiore, Songmiao Fan: Tropospheric ozone trends at Manna Loa Observatory tied to decadal climate variability, Nature Geoscience, 7, 136-143, doi:10.1038/ngeo2066, 2014
  • Shen, Z., J. Liu, L.W. Horowitz, D.K. Henze, S. Fan, H. Levy II, D.L. Mauzerall, J.-T. Lin, and S. Tao, Analysis of transpacific transport of black carbon during HIPPO-3: Implications for black carbon aging, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 14, 505-540, doi:10.5194/acpd-14-505-2014, 2014.
  • Fan, S.-M. (2013), Modeling of observed mineral dust aerosols in the arctic and the impact on winter season low-level clouds, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 118, 11,161?11,174, doi:10.1002/jgrd.50842
  • Meiyun Lin, A. M. Fiore , O. R. Cooper , L. W. Horowitz, A. O. Langford , Hiram Levy II , B. J. Johnson , V. Naik , S. J. Oltmans , C. Senff: Springtime high surface ozone events over the western United States: Quantifying the role of stratospheric intrusions, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D00V22, doi:10.1029/2012JD018151, 2012
  • Meiyun Lin, A.M. Fiore, L.W. Horowitz, O.R. Cooper, V. Naik, J. Holloway, B.J. Johnson, A.M. Middlebrook, S.J. Oltmans, I.B. Pollack, T.B. Ryerson, J.X. Warner, C. Wiedinmyer, J. Wilson, B. Wyman: Transport of Asian ozone pollution into surface air over the western United States in spring, J. Geophys. Res.,117, D00V07, doi:10.1029/2011JD016961, 2012
  • Fang, Y., A.M. Fiore, L.W. Horowitz, A. Gnanadesikan, I. Held, G. Chen, G. Vecchi, and H. Levy, The impacts of changing transport and precipitation on pollutant distributions in a future climate, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D18303, doi:10.1029/2011JD015642, 2011.
  • Liu, J., S. Fan, L.W. Horowitz, and H. Levy II, Evaluation of factors controlling long-range transport of black carbon to the Arctic, J. Geophys. Res.,116, D04307, doi:10.1029/2010JD015145, 2011.
  • Fang, Y., A.M. Fiore, L.W. Horowitz, H. Levy II, Y. Hu, and A.G. Russell, Sensitivity of the NOy budget over the United States to anthropogenic and lightning NOx in summer, J. Geophys. Res., 115, D18312, doi:10.1029/2010JD014079, 2010.
  • Li, F, Paul Ginoux, and V Ramaswamy, September 2010: Transport of Patagonian dust to Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115, D18217, DOI:10.1029/2009JD012356.
  • Lin, M., T. Holloway, G. R. Carmichael and A. M. Fiore: Quantifying pollution inflow and outflow over East Asia in spring with regional and global models. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10, 4221-4239, doi:10.5194/acp-10-4221-2010, 2010.