Characterization of aerosols over the Great Barrier Reef: The influence of transported continental sources
The rapid environmental changes in Australia prompt a more thorough investigation of the influence of transportation, local emissions, and optical–chemical properties on aerosol production across the region. A month-long intensive measurement campaign was conducted during spring 2016 at Mission Beach, a remote coastal site west of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) on the north-east coast of Australia. One aerosol pollution episode was investigated in early October. This event was governed by meteorological conditions and characterized by the increase in black carbon (BC) mass concentration (averaged value of 0.35 ± 0.20 μg m−3). Under the influence of the continental transportation, a new layer of nucleation-mode aerosols with an initial size diameter of 20 nm was observed and aerosol number concentrations reached the peak of 6733 cm−3 at a diameter of 29 nm. The averaged aerosol extinction coefficient at the height of 2 km was 150 Mm−1, with a small depolarized ratio (3.5–5%). Simultaneously, the boundary layer height presented a fall–rise trend in the presence of these enhanced aerosol concentrations and became stable in a later stage of the episode. We did not observe clear boundary layer height diurnal variations from the LiDAR observations or from the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model outputs, except in an earlier stage of the aerosol episode for the former. Although the sea breeze may have been responsible for these particles, on the balance of available data, we suggest that the aerosol properties at the GBR surface during this period are more likely influenced by regional transportation of continental sources, including biomass-burning aerosols.