Chemical evolution of the Sacramento urban plume: Transport and oxidation Academic Article uri icon


  • Measurements of anthropogenic hydrocarbons, ozone, and meteorological variables were obtained during the summer of 1997 near the University of California Blodgett Forest Research Station on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. These measurements and related observations obtained upwind in Sacramento and Folsom, California, by the California Air Resources Board and the National Weather Service demonstrate that the transport of the Sacramento plume is controlled by extremely consistent, terrain-driven winds that draw polluted air into the Sierra Nevada by day and flush the mountains at night with clean, continental background air. In effect the plume serves as a mesoscale (100 km) daytime flow reactor where the daily evolution of the Sacramento urban plume can be characterized as a Lagrangian air parcel transported from the urban core into the sparsely populated Sierra Nevada mountains. Using observations of slowly reacting anthropogenic hydrocarbons, we demonstrate that at the peak impact of the Sacramento plume the air at Blodgett Forest can be characterized as a mixture of 32% air from the urban core and 68% from the relatively clean background. From measurements of more reactive hydrocarbons we infer an average daytime OH concentration of 1.1 x 107 molecules cm-3 during the transit of the urban plume.

published proceedings

  • Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres

author list (cited authors)

  • Dillon, M. B., Lamanna, M. S., Schade, G. W., Goldstein, A. H., & Cohen, R. C

complete list of authors

  • Dillon, MB||Lamanna, MS||Schade, GW||Goldstein, AH||Cohen, RC

publication date

  • March 2002