Transport pathways of carbon monoxide from Indonesian fire pollution to a subtropical high-Altitude mountain site in the western North Pacific

Saginela Ravindra Babu, Chang Feng Ou-Yang, Stephen M. Griffith, Shantanu Kumar Pani, Steven Soon Kai Kong, Neng Huei Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Dry conditions associated with the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are known to have caused major fire pollution events and intense carbon emissions over a vast spatial expanse of Indonesia in October 2006 and 2015. During these two events, a substantial increase in the carbon monoxide (CO) mixing ratio was detected by in situ measurements at Lulin Atmospheric Background Station (LABS; 23.47g gN 120.87g gE; 2862gma.s.l.) in Taiwan, which is the only background station in the subtropical western North Pacific region. Compared to the long-Term October mean (2006-2021), CO was elevated by g1/4g47.2gppb (parts per billion; 37.2g%) and g1/4g36.7gppb (28.9g%) in October 2006 and 2015, respectively. This study delineates plausible pathways for the CO transport from Indonesia to LABS using Measurement of Pollution in the Troposphere (MOPITT) CO observations and Modern-Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, version 2 (MERRA-2) reanalysis products (winds and geopotential height-GpH). Two simultaneously occurring transport pathways were identified, namely (i) horizontal transport in the free troposphere and (ii) vertical transport through the Hadley circulation (HC). The GpH analysis of both events revealed the presence of a high-pressure anticyclone over the northern part of the South China Sea (SCS), which played an important role in the free-Tropospheric horizontal transport of CO. In this scenario, CO in the free troposphere is transported on the western edge of the high-pressure system and then driven by subtropical westerlies to LABS. Simultaneously, uplifted CO over Indonesia can enter the HC and be transferred to subtropical locations such as LABS. The vertical cross section of the MOPITT CO and MERRA-2 vertical pressure velocity supported the transport of CO through the HC. Furthermore, the results revealed a distinct HC strength in two events (higher in 2006 compared to 2015) due to the different ENSO conditions. Overall, the present findings can provide some insights into understanding the regional transport of pollution over Southeast Asia and the role of climate conditions on transport pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4727-4740
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number8
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2023


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