The tropospheric distribution of carbon monoxide as observed during the TROPOZ II Experiment
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As part of the TROPOZ II large-scale measurement campaign in January 1991 we deployed a Four Laser Airborne Infra Red (FLAIR) tunable diode laser spectrometer on board a Caravelle 116 research aircraft. We report here in situ CO measurements which were obtained with one of the four channels of the FLAIR instrument at a time resolution of either one or two minutes. The flight route of the TROPOZ II campaign followed the Atlantic coasts of North America, the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of South America and the Atlantic coasts of West Africa and Europe. A total of 48 CO vertical profiles extending from the surface to 10.5 km altitude were obtained. In the meridional direction adjacent profiles were separated by less than 10° latitude. Polewards of 30°S the CO distribution was very homogeneous with a mean mixing ratio of 55 ppbv. Between 30°S and the equator, the CO mixing ratio above 8 km altitude ranged up to 130 ppbv and was 20–60 ppbv higher than in the mid free troposhere. Three day backward trajectories for these CO rich airmasses originated over Amazonia. Earlier trace gas measurements as well as circulation studies suggested that these airmasses were of Northern Hemispheric origin and had been rapidly convected to the upper troposphere over central South America. The influence of biomass burning is clearly apparent from the measurements performed at 10°N on the African side of the Atlantic with CO mixing ratios being 100–300% higher than on the Central American side. CO mixing ratios further north ranged from 80 to 130 ppbv in the free troposphere and increased to 130–150 ppbv at lower altitudes.