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Atmosphere 2016, 7(1), 1; doi:10.3390/atmos7010001

Frequency and Character of Extreme Aerosol Events in the Southwestern United States: A Case Study Analysis in Arizona

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
National Aeronautics and Space Administration Langley Research Center, Chemistry and Dynamics Branch, Hampton, VA 23681, USA
Oak Ridge Associated Universities, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert W. Talbot
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 4 December 2015 / Accepted: 16 December 2015 / Published: 23 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Atmospheric Composition Observations)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1340 KB, uploaded 23 December 2015]   |  


This study uses more than a decade’s worth of data across Arizona to characterize the spatiotemporal distribution, frequency, and source of extreme aerosol events, defined as when the concentration of a species on a particular day exceeds that of the average plus two standard deviations for that given month. Depending on which of eight sites studied, between 5% and 7% of the total days exhibited an extreme aerosol event due to either extreme levels of PM10, PM2.5, and/or fine soil. Grand Canyon exhibited the most extreme event days (120, i.e., 7% of its total days). Fine soil is the pollutant type that most frequently impacted multiple sites at once at an extreme level. PM10, PM2.5, fine soil, non-Asian dust, and Elemental Carbon extreme events occurred most frequently in August. Nearly all Asian dust extreme events occurred between March and June. Extreme Elemental Carbon events have decreased as a function of time with statistical significance, while other pollutant categories did not show any significant change. Extreme events were most frequent for the various pollutant categories on either Wednesday or Thursday, but there was no statistically significant difference in the number of events on any particular day or on weekends versus weekdays. View Full-Text
Keywords: aerosol; dust; IMPROVE; Asian dust; Arizona; air quality; extreme events aerosol; dust; IMPROVE; Asian dust; Arizona; air quality; extreme events

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lopez, D.H.; Rabbani, M.R.; Crosbie, E.; Raman, A.; Arellano, A.F.; Sorooshian, A. Frequency and Character of Extreme Aerosol Events in the Southwestern United States: A Case Study Analysis in Arizona. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 1.

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