Across North America Tracer Experiment (ANATEX): Sampling and Analysis

 

R.R. Draxler, R. Dietz, R.J. Lagomarsino, and G. Start

 

Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 25A, No. 12, pp. 2815-2836, 1991

 

Abstract - Between 5 January 1987 and 29 March 1987, there were 33 releases of different tracers from each of two sites: Glasgow, MT and St. Cloud, MN. The perfluorocarbon tracers were routinely released in a 3-h period every 2.5 days, alternating between daytime and night-time tracer releases. Ground-level air samples of 24-h duration were taken at 77 sites mostly located near rawinsonde stations east of 105W and between 25N and 55N.  Weekly air samples were taken at 12 remote sites between San Diego, CA and Pt. Barrow, AK and between Norway and the Canary Islands.  Short-term 6-h samples were collected at ground-level and 200m AGL along an arc of five towers between Tulsa, OK and Green Bay, WI.  Aircraft sampling within several hundred kilometers of both tracer release sites was used to establish the initial tracer path.  Experimental design required improved sampler performance, new tracers with lower atmospheric backgrounds, and improvements in analytic precision.  The advances to the perfluorocarbon tracer system are discussed in detail. Results from the tracer sampling showed that the average and peak concentrations measured over the daily ground-level sampling network were consistent with what would be calculated using mass conservation approaches.  However, ground-level samples from individual tracer patterns showed considerable complexity due to vertical stability or the interaction of the tracer plumes with low pressure and frontal systems. These systems could pass right through the tracer plume without appreciable effect.  Aircraft tracer measurements are used to confirm the initial tracer trajectory when the narrow plume may miss the coarser spaced ground-level sampling network.  Tower tracer measurements showed a more complex temporal structure than evident from the longer duration ground-level sampling sites.  Few above background plume measurements were evident in the more distant remote sampling network due to larger than expected uncertainties in the ambient background concentrations.

 

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