5.2 KORUS-AQ

ACOM scientists participated in an aircraft campaign in South Korea, led jointly by NASA and the National Institute of Environmental Research of Korea, in May-June 2016. The NASA DC-8 was instrumented to measure numerous gas-phase compounds and particle properties to quantify the air quality over South Korea and to understand its driving sources. ACOM scientists Weinheimer and Montzka measured NO, NO2, NOy and O3, and Hall and Ullmann measured actinic flux, from which photolysis rates are derived. The full suite of measurements will improve the capability of satellite remote sensing of air quality, for both the Korean geostationary satellite GEMS, as well as future geostationary satellites over North America. Models for air quality forecasting and analysis will be evaluated and improved with these observations.

ACOM scientists (Emmons, Pfister, Barre, Gaubert, Mizzi, Buchholz) also supported KORUS-AQ by providing regional and global forecasts. WRF was run at 4 km horizontal resolution over Korea with tracers of NOx emissions, which were a key product for flight planning. WRF-Chem forecasts, with a detailed representation of aerosols, also were run. Global simulations with the assimilation of MOPITT CO were run with CAM-chem/DART and provided a larger-scale context for flight planning.

The left panel of the figure shows the twenty flights that were completed with the NASA DC-8, with coincident overflights with remote sensing measurements of NO2 on the NASA King Air. Another King Air was operated by the Korean researchers and provided complementary measurements focused on sources and local scales. The middle panel shows an example of the WRF point NO2 tracer forecast. The right panel shows an example of the measured ozone on a DC-8 flight circling a chemical plant showing the high values downwind of the source to the north.

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Figure 1. KORUS-AQ flights, tracers, and measured ozone.

After the return of the DC-8 to the NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, CA, ACOM scientists participated in the Student Airborne Research Program (SARP).  This was a unique educational opportunity for advanced undergraduates in which the KORUS science team trained the students in airborne instrument operation during two research flights to measure air quality, one in the Central Valley and one in the LA basin.