The chemistry of intercepted clouds in Northern Arizona during the North American monsoon season

James W. Hutchings, Marin S Robinson, Heide McIlwraith, Jennifer Triplett Kingston, Pierre Herckes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cloudwater samples have been collected for the first time at a high-elevation site in the US interior Southwest. Cloud samples were collected at the summit of Mt. Elden near Flagstaff, Arizona. The samples were analyzed for pH, ionic composition, trace metals, organic carbon content, and volatile organic compounds. All of the samples showed high pH values (5.12-6.66), which appear to be the result of soil/crustal acid-neutralizing components. Ammonium and nitrate were the dominant ionic species. Organic carbon concentrations ranged from 3 to 18 mg/l. Volatile aromatic compounds (toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) were detected, although they did not contribute significantly to the dissolved organic matter (<1% of dissolved organic carbon). Still, their aqueous-phase concentrations were substantially higher than equilibrium partitioning from the gas phase would suggest. Metal concentrations were high when compared to other cloud studies in remote areas. Overall, with the exception of pH, the cloud chemistry showed marked inter-event variability. The source of the variability was investigated using NOAA HYSPLIT dispersion calculations. Like the cloud composition, the air mass back trajectories differed widely from event to event, and consistently, air masses that passed over highly urbanized areas had higher trace metal, organic, and ion concentrations than more pristine air masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-202
Number of pages12
JournalWater, Air, and Soil Pollution
Volume199
Issue number1-4
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

Fingerprint

Organic carbon
monsoon
air mass
Air
trace metal
Volatile Organic Compounds
Xylenes
Ethylbenzene
Aromatic compounds
organic carbon
Toluene
Xylene
Chemical analysis
Volatile organic compounds
Biological materials
ionic composition
Nitrates
xylene
Gases
Metals

Keywords

  • Acid rain
  • Cloud
  • Cloud chemistry
  • Secondary organic aerosol formation
  • Volatile organic compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

The chemistry of intercepted clouds in Northern Arizona during the North American monsoon season. / Hutchings, James W.; Robinson, Marin S; McIlwraith, Heide; Triplett Kingston, Jennifer; Herckes, Pierre.

In: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, Vol. 199, No. 1-4, 05.2009, p. 191-202.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hutchings, James W. ; Robinson, Marin S ; McIlwraith, Heide ; Triplett Kingston, Jennifer ; Herckes, Pierre. / The chemistry of intercepted clouds in Northern Arizona during the North American monsoon season. In: Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. 2009 ; Vol. 199, No. 1-4. pp. 191-202.
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