Geographic and Seasonal Distributions of CO Transport Pathways and Their Roles in Determining CO Centers in the Upper Troposphere
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Past studies have identified a variety of pathways by which carbon monoxide (CO) may be transported from the surface to the tropical upper troposphere (UT); however, the relative roles that these transport pathways play in determining the distribution and seasonality of CO in the tropical UT remain unclear. We have developed a method to automate the identification of two pathways ('local convection' and 'advection within the lower troposphere (LT) followed by convective vertical transport') involved in CO transport from the surface to the UT. This method is based on the joint application of instantaneous along-track, co-located, A-Train satellite measurements. Using this method, we find that the locations and seasonality of the UT CO maxima in the tropics were strongly correlated with the frequency of local convective transport during 2007. We also find that the 'local convection' pathway (convective transport that occurred within a fire region) typically transported significantly more CO to the UT than the 'LT advection -> convection' pathway (advection of CO within the LT from a fire region to a convective region prior to convective transport). To leading order, the seasonality of CO concentrations in the tropical UT reflected the seasonality of the 'local convection' transport pathway during 2007. The UT CO maxima occurred over Central Africa during boreal spring and over South America during austral spring. Occurrence of the 'local convection' transport pathway in these two regions also peaked during these seasons. During boreal winter and summer, surface CO emission and convection were located in opposite hemispheres, which limited the effectiveness of transport to the UT. During these seasons, CO transport from the surface to the UT typically occurred via the 'LT advection -> convection' pathway.