The IMPROVE data on Pb vs. Pb at Haleakala, HI

    The previous series of slides, for Pb, shows that the spring peak disappears as soon as the air passes to the east of the Rockies. It also shows, however, that the peak is seen more clearly at some places in the West than at others. In order to show that both these effects are due to the relative height of the local background for Pb, I have prepared a series of slides that show both the local Pb and my best estimate of the transported Pb. The latter is just the concentrations from Haleakala in Hawaii.
    You may be wondering why I chose Haleakala over the better-known Mauna Loa. The choice was a difficult one, and is subject to change. The main reason was that Pb at Haleakala showed concentrations during the spring peak that were closer to those in western North America than were those (lower ones) at Mauna Loa. In fact, the spring peak at Haleakala is virtually indistinguishable from the peaks over the entire American West, whereas the peak at Mauna Loa is lower. A second reason was that there were twice as many samples for Haleakala as for Mauna Loa. The plots for Pb at the two places are shown just below.

    The selection of Haleakala brought with it a downside, however, for the Pb concentrations at Haleakala are noisier than at Mauna Loa. Although much of this may be genuine variation attributable to Haleakala's lower altitude (1500 m vs. 3400 at Mauna Loa), some of the noise may simply reflect the greater number of samples.
    A careful examination of the plots for Pb and Pb at Haleakala will reveal that the concentrations throughout much of the West are very similar to those at Haleakala during winter and into spring (though at least the first half of the spring peak). Shown below is one of the clearer examples of this, for Scoville, Idaho. 

The simplest explanation for this is that the North American Pb of winter and  spring does indeed come largely from over the Pacific. But after the spring peak is passed, the Pb falls away at Scoville (and other western sites) less rapidly than at Haleakala (an effect that will be seen more in more pronounced form for Si below). That means that "local" Pb takes over in late spring, and continues to dominate throughout the summer and fall. At the end of fall (typically in late November or early December) the Pb at the western North American sites drops to to stable Pacific values (with or without a preliminary fall peak) and remains there through the winter.
    Is this Pacific Pb really Asian (meaning Chinese/Korean/Japanese)? After all, that's where the air seems to be coming from. I am not yet ready to make this leap, because we are dealing with fine aerosol that has such a long lifetime in the atmosphere. There is nothing whatsoever to prevent some of this Pb, or even most of it, from coming from other sources. Those sources could be west of China/ Japan/ Korea or north of them. I also see nothing in principle to stop some of this Pb from even being "generally northern" in origin, which means roughly polar (like Arctic haze and its forbears). This is one of the challenges posed to the IMPROVE set by its decision to restrict itself to fine aerosol.
    East of the Rockies, background concentrations of Pb rise enough to fall well above the Pacific/Western levels and obscure the spring peak. You can see the effect beginning by Badlands, South Dakota:

    The effect is stronger at Mammoth Cave NP, Kentucky:

and at more-easterly locations such as Shenandoah NP, Virginia:

    Curiously, though, there is some indication of a short Pacific-type spring peak as far to the northeast as Acadia National Park, Maine:

    The north-central states show a spring peak for Pb, but one that comes earlier than the Pacific peak. A particularly good example is Boundary Waters, Minnesota:

This peak follows the clearer peak for S, and is probably derived for Arctic air heading south in spring.
    Another very interesting aspect of Pb's concentration and timing is the appearance of a spring peak in the Southeast that is surprisingly similar to the Pacific peak in the West. Examples include the Okefenokee NWR, Georgia, Chassahowitzka NWR, Florida, Everglades NP, Florida, and even Virgin Island NP shown below.

    Each of these places shows a spring peak nearly identical to the one at Mauna Loa. How can places as far away as the Virgin Islands have a peak that matches Hawaii's? I suspect that both sites are reflecting, at least partially, some overall condition of the springtime atmosphere.
    In summary, Pb shows a spring peak throughout much of the West that is consistent in concentration and timing with the one at Haleakala, and so probably represents material arriving from over the Pacific Ocean. Once this air crosses the Rockies, the peak is mostly masked by the higher background of Pb from the more-populated eastern areas. Along the northern border, a stronger and earlier spring peak is seen that may be linked to southward transport of Arctic air. The American Southeast also offers indications of a spring peak that resembles the Pacific peak, although it is unlikely that this peak could have dominantly been aerosol from over the Pacific. It is possible that the southeast peak represents a more general effect in the springtime atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere.

Slide show for Pb versus Pb at Haleakala, HI

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