Hydrocarbon and halocarbon measurements collected during the second airborne Biomass Burning and Lightning Experiment (BIBLE-B) were subjected to a principal component analysis (PCA), to test the capability for identifying intercorrelated compounds within a large whole air data set. The BIBLE expeditions have sought to quantify and understand the products of burning, electrical discharge, and general atmospheric chemical processes during flights arrayed along the western edge of the Pacific. Principal component analysis was found to offer a compact method for identifying the major modes of composition encountered in the regional whole air data set. Transecting the continental monsoon, urban and industrial tracers (e.g., combustion byproducts, chlorinated methanes and ethanes, xylenes, and longer chain alkanes) dominated the observed variability. Pentane enhancements reflected vehicular emissions. In general, ethyl and propyl nitrate groupings indicated oxidation under nitrogen oxide (NOx) rich conditions and hence city or lightning influences. Over the tropical ocean, methyl nitrate grouped with brominated compounds and sometimes with dimethyl sulfide and methyl iodide. Biomass burning signatures were observed during flights over the Australian continent. Strong indications of wetland anaerobics (methane) or liquefied petroleum gas leakage (propane) were conspicuous by their absence. When all flights were considered together, sources attributable to human activity emerged as the most important. We suggest that factor reductions in general and PCA in particular may soon play a vital role in the analysis of regional whole air data sets, as a complement to more familiar methods.
American Geophysical Union
whole air samples, hydrocarbons, halocarbons, principal component analysis, BIBLE-B
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 108, NO. D5, 4163, 2003