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Manual synoptic climate classification for the East Coast of New England (USA) with an application to PM2.5 concentration


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This study presents a manual synoptic climate classification for the East Coast of New England with an application to regional pollution. New England weather was classified into 9 all-inclusive weather types: Canadian High, Modified High, Gulf of Maine Return, New England High, Atlantic Return, Frontal Atlantic Return, Frontal Overrunning- Continental, Frontal Overrunning-Marine, and Tropical Disturbance. Canadian High and Modified High weather are the dominant weather patterns at Boston, Massachusetts, while Tropical Disturbance, Gulf of Maine Return, and New England High weather types are the least frequent. Properties of the weather types were determined at 07:00 h Local Standard Time (LST) each day in Boston. The coldest and driest weather type is the Canadian High, while the hottest, most humid weather is generated by Frontal Atlantic Return. The synoptic weather classification system, applied to airborne tine particle mass concentrations with an aerodynamic diameter <= 2.5 mu m (PM2.5), showed significant differences in concentrations between weather types: transport from the north and northwest had low PM2.5, while transport from the south and southwest had high PM2.5 concentrations. This climate classification system also has potential applications ranging from studies of insect migration to analyses of climate change.
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Clim Res
Vol. 28: 143154, 2005 Published March 16
One of the primary objectives in synoptic climatol-
ogy is the classification of synoptic weather patterns
into discriminate groups (Yarnal 1993). Once these
groups, or ‘weather types’, are generated, they provide
a useful baseline for environmental analysis, with
widely ranging applications from studies of climate
change (Kalkstein et al. 1990) to human mortality
(Greene & Kalkstein 1996). Recent methods in synoptic
climatology have focused primarily on statistical
derivation of synoptic weather patterns through vari-
ous means including cluster analysis (e.g. Kidson 2000)
and/or principal component analysis (e.g. Serra et al.
1999). This study presents a manual synoptic weather
classification system for the East Coast of New Eng-
land, for use in environmental analyses in the region.
Manual synoptic climate classifications have one pri-
mary advantage over statistically generated systems in
that the weather class (or type) can be classified by the
user through simple visual examination of a weather
map. The primary disadvantage of manual systems is
that the classification of long time periods can be
prohibitively time consuming, although 2 long running
manual synoptic classifications exist for the British
Isles, dating back to 1861 (Lamb 1972), and New
Orleans, Louisiana (USA), commencing in 1961 (Muller
1977). Yarnal (1993) has shown that manual weather
typing is as effective a tool in environmental analysis
as those derived through statistical means.
© Inter-Research 2005 ·*Email:
Manual synoptic climate classification for the East
Coast of New England (USA) with an application
to PM
Barry D. Keim
, Loren David Meeker
, John F. Slater
Department of Geography and Anthropology, Louisiana State University, 327E Howe-Russell Science Complex,
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803, USA
Climate Change Research Center, University of New Hampshire, 56 College Road, Durham, New Hampshire 03824, USA
Division of Engineering, Math, and Science, Daniel Webster College, 20 University Drive, Nashua, New Hampshire 03063, USA
ABSTRACT: This study presents a manual synoptic climate classification for the East Coast of New
England with an application to regional pollution. New England weather was classified into 9
all-inclusive weather types: Canadian High, Modified High, Gulf of Maine Return, New England
High, Atlantic Return, Frontal Atlantic Return, Frontal OverrunningContinental, Frontal Overrun-
ningMarine, and Tropical Disturbance. Canadian High and Modified High weather are the domi-
nant weather patterns at Boston, Massachusetts, while Tropical Disturbance, Gulf of Maine Return,
and New England High weather types are the least frequent. Properties of the weather types were
determined at 07:00 h Local Standard Time (LST) each day in Boston. The coldest and driest weather
type is the Canadian High, while the hottest, most humid weather is generated by Frontal Atlantic
Return. The synoptic weather classification system, applied to airborne fine particle mass concentra-
tions with an aerodynamic diameter 2.5 µm (PM
), showed significant differences in concentra-
tions between weather types: transport from the north and northwest had low PM
, while transport
from the south and southwest had high PM
concentrations. This climate classification system also
has potential applications ranging from studies of insect migration to analyses of climate change.
KEY WORDS: Synoptic climatology · New England · USA · Boston · Weather types · Applied
climatology · PM
Resale or republication not permitted without written consent of the publisher
Clim Res 28: 143154, 2005
An application to PM
(atmospheric particles with
an aerodynamic diameter 2.5 µm) at a rural site in
New Hampshire is demonstrated. By connecting
changes in synoptic weather conditions and changes in
the concentration of PM
, this work will help to
increase the understanding of some of the mechanisms
behind aerosol variability in the northeastern USA,
which in turn can reduce the uncertainty associated
with climate forcing by aerosols.
New England weather and climate patterns are
arguably among the most varied in the world. They
include extremes of both high and low temperatures,
large inter-diurnal changes in temperature, droughts,
heavy rainfall, and blizzards (Zielinski & Keim 2003).
These great variations are influenced by many factors
relating to the physical geographical setting, including
the region’s latitude near 45° N, its coastal orientation,
its continentality from its position within the westerlies,
and its mountains. Since the weather patterns in the
New England region are complex at fine scales, the
aim of this classification system is to find order and
structure at the synoptic scale, especially in the coastal
zone in eastern New England, where the major cities
of Boston, Massachusetts, and Portland, Maine, lie,
and where the University of New Hampshire has a
research program to understand transport of pollution.
Synoptic climatologies can be based on atmospheric
pressure patterns or air-mass properties partitioned
into classes based on manual, automated, or statistical
procedures. Here, we apply an atmospheric pressure-
based system using manual procedures similar to the
synoptic classification developed for New Orleans and
the central Gulf of Mexico coast by Muller (1977). This
circulation-to-environment classification relies on the
classic cycloneanticyclone models with their centers
of low and high pressure, respectively, and associated
frontal boundaries, rain shields, wind vectors, etc. Any
point within New England will have specific weather
conditions because of its proximity to these cyclones
and anticyclones. Therefore, given the scale of New
England in proportion to these synoptic-scale weather
systems, there will be instances when the entire region
is experiencing the same weather type, or when the
western portion of the region may have weather of a
different type than the east, etc. Hence, applications of
the classification must be done on a point location
basis, rather than regionally as that of Davis & Kalk-
stein (1990).
Although this synoptic classification is devised for
the eastern coastal region of New England from Cape
Cod to the border with Canada, it has broad applicabil-
ity across the larger New England region. Boston, and
Durham, New Hampshire (approximately 100 km
north of Boston) were chosen as the foci for this analy-
sis (Fig. 1). Boston is the largest city in New England
and was chosen as the focal point for analysis of the
frequency of the derived synoptic weather types and
air-mass properties associated with them. Boston also
has abundant high quality data for numerous weather
variables, including temperature, dew point and wind
speed, which should be representative of the relative
frequencies and properties of the weather types.
Boston was also chosen for its location on the East
Coast, because this classification scheme will lend
itself for subsequent use in analysis of the atmospheric
chemistry in the rural region of Durham. The relative
frequencies and properties of the weather types prob-
ably do not vary much between these 2 locations,
given their proximity relative to the scale of cyclones
and anticyclones. However, there are situations when
a frontal boundary is located between the 2 sites, and
delineates different weather types with substantive
differences in air-mass properties. These differences
are even greater for more distant locations such as
Burlington, Vermont, but the general classification and
its nomenclature are nevertheless applicable through-
out New England.
Fig. 1. Map of New England, USA, showing locations
mentioned in the text
Keim et al.: Manual synoptic climate classification
The synoptic weather classification for the East
Coast of New England was devised through examina-
tion of weather maps, mostly from the Daily Weather
Maps series published by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At Boston, the
time period and maps analyzed include the 07:00 h
LST (12:00 h Greenwich Mean Time) daily weather
map for the 5 yr period from January 1995 through
December 1999. This time period includes the El Niño
event of late 1997/early 1998 and the 1999 La Niña
event. However, the impacts of ENSO are minimal in
New England (Ropelewski & Halpert 1987, Halpert &
Ropelewski 1992, Bradbury et al. 2003) and these
occurrences should not affect the basic derivation of
the synoptic classification. This use of daily maps
should yield a reliable climatology, because the fre-
quencies of synoptic-scale pressure patterns are
largely unaffected by diurnal variability.
This dataset was produced for initial assessment of
weather types to analyze pollution transport into New
England. Subsequent to this analysis, a separate data-
set was derived for Durham, including analyses of 2
daily maps, at 07:00 and 19:00 h, for the summers of
2001 and 2002, to assess PM
Manual synoptic weather classification is formulated
over an extended period of time through continuous
examination of weather maps. Eventually, discernible
types of weather emerge that result from particular
recurring pressure patterns. From this process, 9 all-
inclusive weather types were generated for eastern
New England, reflecting regional transport pathways
into the region, potential for precipitation (which is not
directly analyzed here), as well as air-mass character-
istics, e.g. temperature, humidity, wind (Fig. 2). The
selection of 9 discernible weather types, partitions of
the classic cyclone/anticyclone model, closely follows
the classification developed by Muller (1977), which
included 8 weather types. The relative position of a
location to the centers of high or low pressure and/or to
the frontal boundaries determines the weather type.
For example, when Boston is located in the warm sec-
tor of a cyclone, yet close to the cold frontal boundary,
the weather type will be Frontal Atlantic Return. At the
same time, Concord may lie on the other side of the
cold front, and hence the classification may be either
Frontal OverrunningContinental or Canadian High,
depending on the extent of cloud cover behind the cold
front; if Concord is positioned beyond the cloud shield,
it will be classified as Canadian High. There is vari-
ability within each weather type (Fig. 2), but the goal is
to create a meaningful number of classes that are use-
ful for environmental analysis. The geographical space
depicted in Fig. 2 can be parsed into virtually any num-
ber of classes, but the 9-class system follows the exam-
ple of Muller (1977), producing a system with poten-
tially meaningful applications in the region, especially
regarding air pollution.
Canadian High (CH) (Fig. 3). This weather type
occurs when the region falls on the eastern side of an
anticyclone, whereas the area of high pressure is usu-
ally situated northwest or west of New England (e.g.
over or just north of the Great Lakes). This pressure
pattern steers northerly or northwesterly winds into
the region, delivering Canadian air. Conditions in this
weather type are mostly fair, and in winter this
weather type delivers the lowest temperatures and dri-
est air to the region.
Modified High (MH) (Fig. 4). MH weather occurs on
the northern side of an anticyclone. As an anticyclone
of Canadian origin drifts south or southeastward, the
center of the high pressure complex becomes situated
in the American Midwest, bringing westerly winds into
New England. These anticyclones typically have had a
long trajectory into the central United States and are
therefore modified through slight increases in temper-
ature and humidity, when compared to CH. MH can
also be of Pacific origin. This is a fair weather type with
low temperatures in winter, but it is milder than CH.
Gulf of Maine Return (GMR) (Fig. 5). This weather
type occurs when a location falls in the southern quad-
rant of an anticyclone. When Canadian high pressure
moves north and east of New England, winds shift to
the northeast or east, advecting maritime polar (mP) air
from the Gulf of Maine into the region. Typically, the
weather is fair and humid, but can sometimes produce
ocean-effect snow in the coastal zone, especially over
Cape Cod.
New England High (NEH) (Fig. 6). Occasionally, a
dome of high pressure will track directly over New
England. When the high is centered over the area,
Fig. 2. Circulation-to-environment synoptic weather classifi-
cation for the East Coast of New England
Clim Res 28: 143154, 2005
winds are weak and from changing directions across
the region. NEH are also classified when there is little
or no pressure gradient at all and the regional
response is the same as when the high pressure com-
plex is directly overhead. Fair weather is common in
these instances.
Atlantic Return (AR) (Fig. 7). AR weather occurs in
the return flow of an anticyclone (on the western side),
and/or within the warm sector of a cyclone. When high
pressure is positioned to the southeast of New Eng-
land, just offshore from the mid-Atlantic states, the
pressure pattern steers southwest, south, or even
southeasterly winds into the region. This weather type
typically produces high temperatures and humid
weather. AR is mostly a fair weather type, but scattered
afternoon thunderstorms are common in summer and
early fall.
Frontal Atlantic Return (FAR) (Fig. 8). As a mid-
latitude cyclone approaches New England from the
west, the region is positioned in the warm sector of the
cyclone, with south or southwesterly flow. Advection is
similar to the AR weather type, but frontal boundaries
and instability influence the region. This weather type
typically produces cloudiness and rain, even in winter.
Frontal OverrunningContinental (FORC) (Fig. 9).
This weather type occurs in a narrow zone behind a
passing cold front. After the passage of a cold front,
high pressure typically builds in from the west or
northwest, driving continental winds into the area
from the northwest. Just after the surface front clears
the area, however, tropical air often overrides the con-
tinental polar air at the surface, causing clouds and
precipitation. In winter, the precipitation type is usu-
ally snow.
Frontal OverrunningMarine (FORM) (Fig. 10).
FORM weather occurs in the northeastern sector of a
cyclone. When low pressure is positioned either off-
shore or south of New England, the region experiences
easterly winds (marine in origin) from the Gulf of
Maine, although maritime tropical (mT) air overrides
this relatively colder air from the south. This weather
type can produce rain, and prolonged snowfall is com-
mon in winter. This is the primary weather type for
coastal northeasters.
Tropical Disturbance (TD) (Fig. 11). Hurricanes and
tropical storms can occasionally make it to New Eng-
land, delivering heavy rainfall and high winds. Wind
direction is completely variable, depending on the
storm path. More often than not, New England
receives remnant tropical systems that produce rain,
but with gentle winds.
The basic classification system is the same as that
proposed by Muller (1977), even if there are obvious
differences in weather types between New England
and Louisiana. The differences between this synoptic
Fig. 4. Modified High (MH) weather type on October 23, 1998
Fig. 5. Gulf of Maine Return (GMR) weather type on June 10,
Fig. 3. Canadian High (CH) weather type on March 16, 1998
Keim et al.: Manual synoptic climate classification
Fig. 6. New England High (NEH) weather type on August 8,
Fig. 7. Atlantic Return (AR) weather type on June 1, 1999
Fig. 10. Frontal Overrunning—Marine (FORM) weather
type on May 2, 1998
Fig. 11. Tropical Disturbance (TD) weather type on August 19,
Fig. 8. Frontal Atlantic Return (FAR) weather type on April 17,
Fig. 9. Frontal OverrunningContinental (FORC) weather
type on June 3, 1998
Clim Res 28: 143154, 2005
climatology and the Muller system are subtle, yet these
subtleties may assist in understanding the varying
transport of pollution into the region. For example,
New England frequently experiences frontal overrun-
ning conditions with surface winds either from the
northwest (FORC with continental air at the surface)
or east (FORM with marine air at the surface), repre-
senting 2 completely different circumstances for sur-
face advection that may be important in environmental
analyses. The Muller system only includes 1 frontal
overrunning class, but 2 classes of high pressure sys-
tem (Continental High and Pacific High), a distinction
not considered important in New England. One other
notable difference with this system is the inclusion of
NEH weather, since anticyclones frequently migrate
directly over the region, a situation which is not com-
mon in Louisiana.
Using the Daily Weather Map series, each day at
07:00 h LST from 1995 to 1999 was classified into 1 of
the 9 all-inclusive weather types, and air-mass proper-
ties, frequencies and seasonality, and transition proba-
bilities are examined.
4.1. Air-mass properties by synoptic weather type
To acquire a sense of the air-mass properties of
each weather type, meteorological data at 07:00 h
LST were extracted for Boston and averaged for each
weather type for January and July (Table 1). Some
sample sizes are rather limited, but their averages
are consistent with expectations. To demonstrate that
these air-mass properties represent differing popula-
tions, the data were tested using a 1-way MANOVA
(Rencher 1998). The 2 types with the lowest January
count (GMR and NEH), were eliminated from the
analysis described below. For each month (January
and July), the multivariate test indicated highly
significant differences among weather types (p <
0.0001). To further explore differences indicated by
MANOVA, pairwise multivariate tests for equality
between weather types were conducted. The signifi-
cance values for the pairwise tests shown in Table 2
indicate that, in most cases, air-mass properties are
significantly different between weather types. Sur-
prisingly, results for January are not as compelling as
July, although Table 1 shows smaller variances be-
tween weather types in both wind speed and visi-
bility in January. Other factors contributing to this
result may be related to the time of day (07:00 h
LST) under analysis and the propensity for snow
cover. In January, highly insignificant differences are
found between FAR and AR, both of which are
characterized by south or southwesterly advection
within the warm sector of a cyclone; hence the simi-
larity is expected. Air-mass properties for AR are also
not dissimilar from FORM, both of which are domi-
nated by advection off the ocean. Overall, these
results support the synoptic classification presented
here and the subsequent analysis of PM
further demonstrate differences in the synoptic
weather types, even when the air-mass properties do
NTemperature Dew point Relative Wind speed Visibility
(°C) (°C) humidity (%) (km h
) (km)
Canadian High (CH) 36 7 12 64 19 18
Modified High (MH) 23 4 11 59 19 18
Gulf of Maine Return (GMR) 2 1 3 86 18 11
New England High (NEH) 4 0 4 75 11 18
Atlantic Return (AR) 15 1 3 78 16 14
Frontal Atlantic Return (FAR) 26 3 1 82 19 16
Frontal OverrunningContinental (FORC) 33 1 4 80 16 11
Frontal OverrunningMarine (FORM) 16 3 1 88 15 10
Canadian High (CH) 28 21 13 63 16 18
Modified High (MH) 33 23 15 63 13 18
Gulf of Maine Return (GMR) 7 18 16 86 10 16
New England High (NEH) 10 21 14 69 8 14
Atlantic Return (AR) 28 23 18 72 13 13
Frontal Atlantic Return (FAR) 24 23 19 82 13 11
Frontal OverrunningContinental (FORC) 8 22 17 75 11 13
Frontal OverrunningMarine (FORM) 16 20 18 91 10 6
Table 1. Average air-mass properties by synoptic weather type at Boston for 1995 to 1999 at 07:00 h LST
Keim et al.: Manual synoptic climate classification
not differ significantly, e.g. GMR from FORC and
In January, the average 07:00 h LST temperature is
lowest during the CH and MH weather types, respec-
tively, with transport of continental polar (cP) or modi-
fied cP air masses from Canada. The highest tempera-
tures at 07:00 h LST in January are found with FAR,
FORM, and AR weather types, respectively. If the
afternoon was examined, AR weather would have
higher temperatures, since the 07:00 h LST tempera-
ture follows a night of radiational cooling under mostly
clear skies. Temperatures during FORM largely
reflect the offshore sea surface temperature, which
remains higher than the adjacent land temperature at
this time of year. Dew points and relative humidity are
low with the weather types controlled by high pressure
(CH, MH and NEH, respectively) and are humid with
advection from the east (FORM, GMR) or south (FAR,
AR). Wind speeds are highest with CH, MH and FAR
weather, while visibility is highest with the suite of
high pressure weather types (CH, MH and NEH).
In July, the lowest morning temperatures occur with
advection off the Gulf of Maine, including the FORM
and GMR weather types, which again reflect sea sur-
face temperatures that are lower than land tempera-
tures at this time of year. The highest temperatures
occur with FAR, AR and MH weather. The southerly
advection associated with FAR, and AR weather make
the higher temperatures unremarkable. However, the
presence of higher temperatures under MH conditions
probably implies that mT air from the Gulf of Mexico
and Caribbean is being transported northward into the
Great Plains of the United States and redirected east-
ward to New England by the pressure gradient associ-
ated with high pressure over the
American Midwest. Furthermore, the
air is warmed adiabatically as it
descends from the mountains in west-
ern New England to the coastal zone.
Some of the highest temperatures ever
recorded in New England have come
during times of westerly winds in sum-
mer. Dew points and relative humidity
are low with high pressure weather
(CH, MH and NEH) and are higher
with FAR, FORM and AR, respec-
tively. Wind speeds are generally
lower in summer than in winter, with
the greatest wind speeds again associ-
ated with CH weather. Visibility is
greatest under CH and MH condi-
tions, and lowest during FORM
4.2. Weather type frequencies
CH weather was the most frequent type at Boston
during the study period, with >25% of all days
falling into this class; MH weather was second at 16%
(Table 3). The relatively low percentage of TD days
(<1%) is not surprising (Louisiana, which is much more
vulnerable to tropical storms and hurricanes than New
England, had only 3% of all hours classified as ‘tropical
disturbance’ by Muller & Willis 1983). Weather type
frequencies by month also show seasonality. CH
weather was the most frequent weather type in 10 of
the 12 months, and MH was the most frequent in July
and October. CH weather also shows higher frequen-
cies in late winter and early spring, with slightly lower
frequencies in late spring and early summer. This is
consistent with the findings of Bradbury et al. (2002),
who noted an eastward migration of the 500 hPa
United States East Coast Trough from winter to early
spring, which would be associated with the CH
weather type. MH shows little seasonality. GMR
weather is relatively rare, with minimum frequencies
from November through January and higher occur-
rence rates from May through October. The low fre-
quencies in winter are presumably related to the
expansion and configuration of the circumpolar vortex.
After a cold air outbreak in New England, meridional
flow will tend to steer Canadian anticyclones to the
southeast, rather than due east (north of New Eng-
land). NEH shows little seasonality other than rela-
tively low occurrence rates in winter. AR and FAR
weather show a clearer signal with relatively high
occurrence rates in summer. The southerly advection
associated with these weather types is reinforced by
CH 0.0924 0.0024 0.0000 0.0000 0.0000
MH 0.0048 0.0000 0.0002 0.0000
GMR ––––
NEH ––––
AR 0.3626 0.8198 0.5121
FAR 0.0023 0.0757
FORC 0.0906
CH 0.0628 0.001 0.0421 0.0000 0.0000 0.0267 0.0000
MH 0.0000 0.0011 0.0004 0.0000 0.0470 0.0000
GMR 0.0312 0.0061 0.0030 0.3716 0.3000
NEH 0.0025 0.0000 0.0223 0.0003
AR 0.0421 0.7795 0.0000
FAR 0.0096 0.0089
FOR–C 0.0329
Table 2. Significance values of multivariate pairwise mean comparisons for
weather types at Boston. See Table 1 for abbreviations. Bold values are
significant at p 0.05. –: insufficient sample size for analysis
Clim Res 28: 143154, 2005
strong Bermuda High circulation at that time of year.
FORC weather clearly declines in frequency during
summer. Finally, TD weather follows the pattern of the
hurricane season, with a gradual
increase in activity in July and August,
with a peak in September.
Weather type counts for each year
show large variations (Table 4). For
example, annual counts of CH
weather range from 72 in 1999 (20%)
to 118 in 1995 (32%), a difference of
12% in annual frequency. This and
other differences were tested for sig-
nificance using the χ
test. Results
imply that the differences among the
years are significant (χ
= 49.6, p <
0.05). Seasonal analysis of these data
shows that most of the variability
between years took place in summer
(Table 4) (χ
= 41.9, p < 0.05). Differ-
ences in weather type counts during
the other seasons were not significant.
These results suggest that between
1995 and 1999, summers were more
variable than the other seasons.
4.3. Transitions in synoptic weather
Transitions in weather types were
analyzed to determine the temporal
sequencing of weather patterns. Two-
step transition probabilities estimated
the probability of weather type occur-
rence on the day following a given
weather type (Table 5). In the case of
CH for example, the day after also tends to be CH (in
40% of the cases). The next highest transition proba-
bility for CH is MH, with TD being the least likely tran-
January 23.2 14.8 1.3 2.6 9.7 16.8 21.3 10.3 0.8
February 30.5 17.7 2.1 5.7 9.2 9.2 19.9 5.7 0.8
March 31.0 12.3 2.6 5.8 11.6 12.3 15.5 9.0 0.8
April 34.0 14.0 2.0 8.7 7.3 12.0 12.7 9.3 0.8
May 20.7 15.5 9.7 8.4 10.3 9.0 9.0 17.4 0.8
June 20.7 14.7 7.3 6.7 19.3 12.0 10.0 9.3 0.8
July 18.1 21.3 4.5 6.5 18.1 15.5 5.2 10.3 0.6
August 29.0 12.3 1.3 8.4 12.9 15.5 7.1 11.0 2.6
September 23.3 12.0 4.7 8.0 16.0 12.0 11.3 6.0 6.7
October 20.7 22.6 4.5 8.4 14.8 10.3 11.6 7.1 0.8
November 29.3 16.7 1.3 2.0 12.0 12.7 16.0 10.0 0.8
December 26.5 21.3 1.3 3.2 12.3 15.5 14.8 5.16 0.8
Annual mean 25.5 16.3 3.6 6.2 12.8 12.8 12.8 9.3 0.8
Table 3. Monthly and annual frequency (%) of each synoptic weather type at Boston. The weather type of greatest frequency for
each month is bold and the month of highest frequency for each weather type is italic. See Table 1 for abbreviations
1995 118 57 10 28 36 50 36 28 2
1996 82 54 17 29 50 46 46 38 4
1997 107 70 11 20 45 44 44 23 1
1998 87 57 13 17 44 51 50 43 3
1999 72 59 14 19 59 42 58 37 5
Summer only
1995 27 15 3 9 9 17 3 7 2
1996 17 13 5 8 20 13 2 14 0
1997 27 21 4 6 11 9 7 6 1
1998 18 10 4 6 14 17 12 9 2
1999 15 15 4 4 23 10 10 11 0
Table 4. Frequency (no. of days) of each weather type at Boston for each year,
and for summer (JJA) only. See Table 1 for abbreviations
CH 0.40 0.18 0.15 0.09 0.13 0.27 0.38 0.14 0.13
MH 0.13 0.30 0.00 0.09 0.14 0.20 0.16 0.11 0.13
GMR 0.04 0.01 0.15 0.08 0.04 0.01 0.03 0.03 0.07
NEH 0.11 0.09 0.06 0.09 0.02 0.03 0.03 0.03 0.13
AR 0.11 0.19 0.14 0.27 0.19 0.06 0.04 0.12 0.07
FAR 0.07 0.13 0.14 0.18 0.26 0.14 0.05 0.16 0.07
FORC 0.07 0.06 0.14 0.08 0.15 0.18 0.19 0.24 0.07
FORM 0.08 0.03 0.18 0.12 0.07 0.11 0.11 0.17 0.00
TD 0.01 0.00 0.03 0.01 0.00 0.00 0.01 0.00 0.33
Table 5. Estimated transition probabilities of each synoptic weather type [SWT
(n + 1) / SWT (n)] at Boston, based on 5 yr daily data from 1995 to 1999. The
highest probable transition from one weather type to another is denoted in bold,
and transition to the same weather type is denoted in italics. See Table 1 for
Keim et al.: Manual synoptic climate classification
sition weather type. MH also tends to persist for more
than 1 d, and most frequently the day following a MH
day is another MH. However, the next highest transi-
tion frequency is AR. In essence, these transition prob-
abilities build a common sequence of weather types as
follows: CH > MH > AR > FAR > CH, as the train of
cyclones and anticyclones moves from west to east.
FAR also frequently transitions to FORC, then back to
CH. These transition probabilities also demonstrate
that FORC and FORM tend to transition back and
forth. Note that these are only tendencies in the
weather type transitions. Table 5 demonstrates that
barring TDeach weather type has been followed by
every other possible weather type at one time or
another, and that continuous predictable sequences
are not common. However, we tested the data with the
test for independence and concluded that the data
are not randomly distributed; hence there is an over-
riding structure to the pattern that follows dynamical
considerations (p 0.05). Sequencing of weather types
in this manner is important for understanding the fre-
quencies and magnitudes of precipitation events (Hay
et al. 1991) and probably has other applications as
well, including interpretation of acute air pollution
4.4. Weather type indices
To evaluate weather/climate conditions and envi-
ronmental responses, synoptic weather types can be
combined to form indices (Muller 1977). In this case,
we devised 3 indices: (1) the High Pressure Index
(HPI), which is a combination of CH, MH, GMR,
and NEH; (2) the (WWI) including AR and FAR; and
(3) the (SI), including FAR, FORC, FORM and TD
(Table 6). On average, Boston experiences HPI
weather on over half of all days (51.5%), which cor-
responds well with Boston’s normal number of clear
and partly cloudy days (55.3%). SI weather occurs on
about one-third of all days, which also corresponds
well with the normal number of rain days. Inter-
annual variations between the 5 years were tested
using the χ
test, which showed that the counts of
these 3 indices were significantly different between
years (χ
= 18.8, p < 0.05). The years 1995 and 1997
have more HPI and less SI than expected, while 1998
and 1999 have less HPI and more SI than expected.
Given the relatively low HPI (which are generally
cold weather types) for 1998 and 1999, it is not
surprising that these years had the highest average
temperatures. Also, the anomalously high SI in 1998
corresponds with the wettest of the 5 years.
Synoptic weather patterns often serve as transporta-
tion mechanisms for pollution and other chemical con-
stituents (e.g. Comrie 1996). One such type of pollution
that has received attention recently is fine airborne
particulate matter 2.5 µm (PM
). The scattering and
absorption of short-wavelength solar radiation by
atmospheric aerosol particles directly affects the radia-
tive balance of the Earth. Recent model estimates of
the direct industrial aerosol radiative forcing range
between –0.07 and –1.24 W m
, compared to the esti-
mated range of +2.19 to +2.67 W m
due to the radia-
tive forcing of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (IPCC
2001). One of the main causes of the large uncertainty
associated with direct aerosol radiative forcing is vari-
ations in aerosol properties in both time and space (e.g.
Schwartz & Andreae 1996). The northeastern USA is
one region where direct anthropogenic aerosol radia-
tive forcing is highly variable and typically exceeds
that of anthropogenic greenhouse gases (e.g. Grant et
al. 1999).
Along with its impact on climate by perturbing the
Earth’s radiation budget, the scattering and absorption
of short-wavelength solar radiation by fine particles is
the major cause for reduced visibility in many parts of
the USA (e.g. Malm et al. 1994). Additionally, epidemi-
ological evidence supports a link between adverse
human health effects and fine particles, primarily
because small particles have the ability to penetrate
into sensitive regions of the human respiratory tract
(Dockery et al. 1993).
For these reasons, we conducted a pilot study to
examine relationships between synoptic weather pat-
terns and PM
mass concentration during the summer
(JJA) of 2001 and 2002; we combined these 2 datasets
to increase our sample size. We chose summer months
because this is the time of year when aerosol concen-
trations are at their highest levels in New England (e.g.
Jordan et al. 2000). This study was set in Durham
(Fig. 1), in the coastal region of New England, 100 km
north of Boston.
1995 58.4 23.6 31.8
1996 49.7 26.2 36.6
1997 57.0 24.4 30.7
1998 47.7 26.0 40.3
1999 44.9 27.7 38.9
Mean 51.5 25.6 35.7
Table 6. Synoptic weather type indices (%) at Boston. HPI:
High Pressure Index; WWI: Warm Weather Index; SI: Stormi-
ness Index
Clim Res 28: 143154, 2005
To measure PM
, we used a Continuous Ambient
Mass Monitor (CAMM; Andersen Instruments); the
measurement principle is described in detail by Babich
et al. (2000). Different measurement methods of PM
are outlined in US EPA (1997a) and the standard of 24 h
measurements is set forth in US EPA (1997b). The
CAMM has a detection limit of 3 µg m
for PM
centrations averaged over 1 h. To comply with US EPA
guidelines, we averaged 24 one-hour measurements,
as demonstrated by Babich et al. (2000), during each of
the days during the summers of 2001 and 2002 when
synoptic conditions were consistent at both 07:00 h and
19:00 h LST on the same calendar day. The goal of this
practice was to examine PM
data on days with a rela-
tively consistent synoptic weather type, when impacts
of the weather types are more clear.
This test case revealed differences in the average con-
centrations of PM
by synoptic weather types (Table 7).
Note that TD weather is not represented, which is an ar-
tifact of the brief sampling period. CH and MH weather
types, on average, contain lower PM
than the other weather types. AR weather contains the
highest concentrations, with FORC, FORM, and FAR
following close behind, respectively. To test whether
these differences were significant, the Kruskal-Wallis
(K-W) test was used (Keller et al. 1988). Although the
sample sizes are small, the test revealed that there are
significant differences in PM
that are related to the
synoptic weather types (K-W statistic = 30.21; p < 0.001).
are presumably advected from transportation
sources along the USA Eastern Seaboard, as well as from
industrial sources in the Ohio River Valley and the Ten-
nessee River Valley. This occurs during AR and FAR
weather types with south and southwesterly winds. Dur-
ing FORC and FORM, it is likely that a shallow
boundary layer traps PM
near the surface, leading to
relatively high concentrations. During CH and MH, the
wind is generally from the north and west, bringing
relatively cleaner Canadian air into the region, which is
attributed to the lower density of industrial sources in
southeastern Canada.
Similar results were found by Slater et al. (2002),
who used this classification system in relation to the
chemical composition of PM
at a rural site in north-
ern New Hampshire for a short sampling period. This
study revealed that during AR and FAR synoptic con-
ditions, PM
concentrations were higher by at least a
factor of 2, compared to CH conditions. During AR and
FAR transport, ammonium sulfate accounted for most
of the PM
. During times of air-mass transport from
the north (CH), ammonium sulfate and organic carbon
contributed equally to the PM
. This is an indication
of the predominance of sulfate in polluted air masses
arriving from the south or southwest of New England,
and the presence of naturally-formed organic aerosols
during time of transport from cleaner sectors to the
New England weather was classified into 9 all-inclu-
sive weather types, using a manual procedure. CH and
MH were the dominant weather patterns at Boston,
while TD, GMR, and NEH weather types were least
frequent, respectively. At 07:00 h LST, the coldest and
driest weather type overall was CH, while the hottest,
most humid weather was generated by AR and FAR.
There were significant differences in PM
trations resulting from different synoptic weather
types. This classification system has other applications
in applied climate research. For example, synoptic cli-
mate classifications have been used to analyze surface
ozone concentrations (Comrie & Yarnal 1992), insect
migration patterns (Muller & Tucker 1986), human
mortality (Greene & Kalkstein 1996), heavy rainfall
distributions (Keim & Muller 1992, Faiers et al. 1994,
Keim & Faiers 1995, Keim 1996), tornado outbreaks
(Davis et al. 1997), percent of hourly rainfall totals
(Faiers 1988), fluctuations in anticyclones (Rohli &
Henderson 1997), regional air-mass properties (Muller
& Willis 1983), coastal water level fluctuations
(Childers et al. 1990), evaporation rates (McCabe &
Muller 1987), impacts of ENSO (McCabe & Muller
2002) and climate change (Kalkstein et al. 1990). Fur-
thermore, these weather types have applications in
assessment of forest health and ecology, prediction of
high and low temperature episodes, and dry and wet
deposition of atmospheric aerosols. Jordan et al. (2000)
have found interesting relationships between atmo-
spheric chemistry and regional-scale atmospheric
transport into the New England coastal region. It is
therefore our hope that this synoptic climate classifica-
tion system may be as useful in the northeastern USA
as the Muller (1977) classification has been in the
southeastern USA.
Mean ± SD Median N
CH 9.8 ± 6.8 7.3 16
MH 10.7 ± 7.9 6.5 5
GMR 7.9 ± 4.7 7.9 2
NEH 14.7 ± 1.1 14.7 2
AR 27.5 ± 10.1 26.4 17
FAR 18.1 ± 8.2 17.5 5
FORC 22.0 ± 9.4 22.6 4
FORM 22.5 ± 9.9 19.2 11
Table 7. Summer (JJA) 20012002 daily average airborne fine
particle mass concentrations (PM
in µg m
) in Durham,
New Hampshire, by synoptic weather type
Keim et al.: Manual synoptic climate classification
Acknowledgements. This research was funded by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),
Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) Grant no.
NA97RP0309. J.F.S. was supported by the National Aeronau-
tics and Space Administration (NASA) under the Earth Sys-
tem Science Fellowship Program (Grant NGT5-30349). The
authors acknowledge Jane Fithian and Kristi Donahue for
assistance with graphic production.
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Editorial responsibility: Robert Davis,
Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
Submitted: August 11, 2001; Accepted: January 4, 2005
Proofs received from author(s): February 15, 2005
... Classification methods are essentially divided into two categories: one is the subjective classification based on the ground surface or upper air flow features, and the other is to use statistical methods to classify various meteorological elements clustering. Both of the two methods are highly practical in the analysis field of atmospheric environment and have been successfully applied in many places in China and overseas (Kalkstein and Corrigan, 1986;Davis, 1988;Davis and Gay, 1993;Yarnal, 1993;Keim et al., 2005;Huth et al., 2008;Zhang et al., 2012;Bei et al., 2016). By using the subjective classification method, Keim et al. (2005) divided the weather situation over the east coast of New England into nine categories and studied the distribution characteristics of PM 2.5 concentration of each weather type. ...
... Both of the two methods are highly practical in the analysis field of atmospheric environment and have been successfully applied in many places in China and overseas (Kalkstein and Corrigan, 1986;Davis, 1988;Davis and Gay, 1993;Yarnal, 1993;Keim et al., 2005;Huth et al., 2008;Zhang et al., 2012;Bei et al., 2016). By using the subjective classification method, Keim et al. (2005) divided the weather situation over the east coast of New England into nine categories and studied the distribution characteristics of PM 2.5 concentration of each weather type. The results showed that the PM 2.5 concentration which corresponds to the Atlantic return flow type (high temperature and high humidity) is the highest. ...
... Designing a distributed sensor network for Boston is challenging in part due to the highly variable meteorological patterns of New England that affect PM2.5 concentrations. This variability is caused by New England's physical geography, including its coastal orientation, position within the prevailing westerlies, and presence of mountains, as well as its diverse climate patterns, such as large diurnal changes in temperature, droughts, heavy rainfall, and blizzards (Keim et al., 2005). In addition, the Boston area is predominately White with spatially dispersed nonwhite communities, making it difficult to optimize based on the race metric. ...
In the United States, citizens and policymakers heavily rely upon Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated regulatory networks to monitor air pollution; increasingly they also depend on low-cost sensor networks to supplement spatial gaps in regulatory monitor networks coverage. Although these regulatory and low-cost networks in tandem provide enhanced spatiotemporal coverage in urban areas, sensors are located often in higher income, predominantly White areas. Such disparity in coverage may exacerbate existing inequalities and impact the ability of different communities to respond to the threat of air pollution. Here we present a study using cost-constrained multiresolution dynamic mode decomposition (mrDMDcc) to identify the optimal and equitable placement of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) sensors in four U.S. cities with histories of racial or income segregation: St. Louis, Houston, Boston, and Buffalo. This novel approach incorporates the variation of PM2.5 on timescales ranging from one day to over a decade to capture air pollution variability. We also introduce a cost function into the sensor placement optimization that represents the balance between our objectives of capturing PM2.5 extremes and increasing pollution monitoring in low-income and nonwhite areas. We find that the mrDMDcc algorithm places a greater number of sensors in historically low-income and nonwhite neighborhoods with known environmental pollution problems compared to networks using PM2.5 information alone. Our work provides a roadmap for the creation of equitable sensor networks in U.S. cities and offers a guide for democratizing air pollution data through increasing spatial coverage of low-cost sensors in less privileged communities.
... Particulate matter (PM) has aroused worldwide concern over the past decade due to its significant adverse effects on visibility, public health and even the global climate Mimura et al., 2014;Keim et al., 2005). Therefore, investigating the emission sources of PM is of immense importance for emission control strategies. ...
A single particle source analysis was conducted for particulate matter and oxalic acid using a single particle aerosol mass spectrometer during a typical biomass burning period in Tianjin, China. The adaptive resonance theory 2 neural network algorithm was applied to analyze mass spectra data and generate 20 particle clusters. Size-resolved time series of the particle classes were put into an advanced three-way model (ABB, multi-size three-way model) for source apportionment. Seven sources were identified, including crustal dust, biomass burning, fossil fuel combustion, secondary organic, secondary nitrate and secondary sulfate. Oxalic acid containing particles accounted for 1.4% of the total detected particles during the overall sampling period, and the fraction increased to 2.6% during the biomass burning period. Oxalic acid was predominantly observed in the Na-K-EC, EC, EC-K, EC-aged, K, Levoglucosan and Fe particle classes. The mixing fraction of oxalic acid in these particle types, and their diurnal variation and size distribution patterns are related to different formation mechanisms. Source contributions to oxalic acid were apportioned, and secondary sulfate (49%), biomass burning (25%), vehicle exhaust (17%), and secondary organic sources (8%) may have contributed to the amount of oxalic acid-containing particles. The contribution of secondary sulfate sources follows the O3 concentration during the sampling period. This is likely because strong photochemical oxidation activity during the sampling period produces more oxalic acid precursors from Volatile organic compounds. Biomass burning also clearly contributed the number of oxalic acid particles, because precursors emitted by biomass burning can be quickly oxidized into oxalic acid, and more oxalic acid was formed during transportation. Fe particles may also play important role in oxalic acid deposition.
... High concentration of particulate matter is now the primary concern about air quality in China, which adversely affects climate and human health (Jimenez et al., 2009;Mimura et al., 2014;Keim et al., 2005). Coal accounts for 65.6% of all energy consumed (coal equivalent calculation) in China in 2014, and thermal power generation and heating supply consume the largest part of coal (Wang and Luo, 2017). ...
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... Impacts of ENSO on weather type frequency were investigated by McCabe and Muller (2002), who concluded that El Nino tends to enhance rainfall in Gulf Return, Frontal Gulf Return, and Frontal Overunning weather types, while La Nina conditions lead to an increase in Gulf Return weather and warmer and drier conditions in Louisiana. Keim et al. (2005) used the Muller weather type classification system and adapted it to New England. In an application of the New England classification system they found that the weather types were related to PM 2.5 concentrations. ...
This article provides a review of manual synoptic climate classification systems dating back the turn of the twentieth century. It begins with a survey of the Bergen School and their development of the midlatitude cyclone model. This model is then used as a basis for the other synoptic weather classification systems including the Hess–Brezowsky Grosswetterlagen system based in Germany, H.H. Lamb's system developed for the United Kingdom and Western Europe, and the Muller system developed for Louisiana and North-Central Gulf of Mexico Coast. More recent efforts seem to be centered more on automating these classical weather typing systems.
... Numerous studies have shown PM 2.5 to be a cause of direct and indirect adverse effects to human health, atmospheric visibility and global climate change. (Jim enez et al., 2009;Keim et al., 2005;Mimura et al., 2014). Due to the evidence of these adverse effects, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 24-h standard limitation of 25 mg m À3 for PM 2.5 (WHO, 2005). ...
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Based on surface and 850, 500 hPa level synoptic maps and primary meteorological factors during summer and autumn from 2007 to 2008 in Beijing, two kinds of synoptic weather patterns were divided, one of which was helpful for accumulating pollutants with higher pollution including four basic types and the other was helpful for dispersing pollutants with lower pollution including two basic types. In 2007, concentrations of NOx, O3(hourly maximum), PM2.5 and PM10 averaged from four sites in Beijng were 38.1 × 10-9(V/V), 115.2 × 10-9(V/V), 90.6 μg/m3, 212.5 μg/m3 under accumulating synoptic pattern, respectively, while 36.3 × 10-9(V/V), 68.9 × 10-9(V/V), 39.3 μg/m3, 125.4 μg/m3 under dispersing synoptic pattern, respectively. The source control measures were carried out to ensure the air quality during 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and concentrations of NOx, O3(hourly maximum), PM2.5 and PM10 were 19.3 × 10-9 (V/V), 87.1 × 10-9(V/V), 66.3 μg/m3, 99.6 μg/m3 under accumulating synoptic pattern, respectively, while 19.0 × 10-9(V/V), 62.5 × 10-9(V/V), 41.0 μg/m3, 65.2 μg/m3 under dispersing synoptic pattern, respectively. Although the source control measures were carried out, higher pollutant concentrations were appeared under accumulating synoptic pattern; thus, researching pollutant changes under this synoptic pattern is very important for predicting severe pollutions and establishing effective source control measures.
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Although tornadoes are microscale meteorological features, their occurrence is linked to the larger synoptic-scale environment. Most conceptual models of synoptic situations that give rise to tornadoes are based on conditions prevalent in the Great Plains of the United States. However, tornadoes develop in many different synoptic environments, particularly when they form beyond the boundaries of 'Tornado Alley'. Tornado occurrences in the state of Virginia are identified from 1951 through 1992. Using upper air data for the nearest site and observation time, a synoptic classification is produced via application of principal components analysis and cluster analysis. The five resulting synoptic classes each exhibit distinctive thermodynamic and flow conditions that serve as air-mass paradigms for tornado occurrence in Virginia. The groups include thermodynamic/northwest flow air masses, a mixed thermodynamic/dynamic category, a polar front jet situation, cool season midlatitude cyclone events, and Great Plains type tornadic air masses. A sixth type, tornadoes spawned by tropical systems, is defined separately. A variety of indices have been developed by forecasters to provide information about the likelihood of severe weather and tornadic activity. The lifted index, K-index, Showalter index, SWEAT, Totals index, and a wind shear index are calculated for each tornado event. Analysis of variance indicates that most of the these indices are statistically different between synoptic classes. These results suggest tht the synoptic-scale mechanisms responsible for tornado occurrence in the mid-Atlantic states are quite variable. Enhanced predictive capability could be gains by considering the prevailing synoptic conditions associated with individual storms.
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This paper examines the synoptic climatology and seasonally of heavy rainfall across the southeastern United States. Frontal systems (particularly cold fronts) were found to be the dominant mechanism that induces heavy rainfall across the study area, but tropical disturbances and air-mass storms also contribute, especially at the more coastal locations. Annual regimes were found to vary dramatically from one site to another, and seven of the eight sites investigated exhibited statistically significant seasonality. Generally, peaks in heavy rainfall are bimodal in the western portion of the region, occurring in the transitional seasons. The central portion of the region peaks in late winter and spring, whereas the area east of the Appalachians (including Florida) has summer peaks. This spatial pattern is likely related to patterns of mid-tropospheric air flow and positions of the Bermuda High in summer, and the seasonality of cyclogenesis in North America.
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A Continuous Ambient Mass Monitor (CAMM) for fine particle mass (PM2.5) has recently been developed at the Harvard School of Public Health. The principle of this method is based on the measurement of the increase in pressure drop across a membrane filter (FluoroporeTM) during particle sampling. The monitor consists of a conventional impactor inlet to remove particles larger than 2.5 mu m, a diffusion dryer to remove particle-bound water, a filter tape to collect particles, a filter tape transportation system to allow unassisted sampling, and a data acquisition and control unit. For each sampling period (typically 30- 60 min), a new segment of the filter tape is exposed so that particles remain close to equilibrium with the sample air during their collection. This results in mini mization of volatilization and adsorption artifacts during sampling. Furthermore, since the required flow rate for the fine particle mass monitoring channel is only 0.3 L / min, the relative humidity of the air sample can be easily reduced to 40% or less using a NafionTM diffusion dryer to remove particle-bound water. The CAMM has a detection limit of > 5 mu g / m3 for PM2.5 concentrations averaged over 1 h. The performance of the newly developed monitor was investigated through laboratory and field studies. Laboratory tests included a calibration of the CAMM using polystyrene latex (PSL) and silica particles. A series of field studies were conducted in 7 cities with presumably different PM2.5 chemical composition. The 24 1-h CAMM measurements were averaged and compared to Harvard Impactor (HI) 24 h PM2.5 integrated measurements. Based on 211 valid sampling days, the measurements obtained from the Harvard Impactor and the CAMM were highly correlated (r2 = 0.90). The average CAMM-to-HI concentration ratio was 1.07 (+- 0.18).
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An intensive sampling program was carried out from May 1994 through November 1997 on the shore of the Gulf of Maine in New Castle, New Hampshire. Daily (24 hour averages) samples of bulk aerosol and gas phase HNO3, precipitation, and 20 aerosol size distributions were obtained. Particulate NH4+ and gas phase HNO3 were the dominant water-soluble nitrogen species in the atmosphere. There was a summer peak in the mixing ratios of both of these species. Daily mixing ratios of HNO3 and all aerosol species were highly variable, yet the annual averages tended to be similar from one year to the next. The concentrations of all the inorganic species we measured in precipitation were generally higher than those of two National Acid Deposition Program (NADP) coastal sites. In particular, the annual volume-weighted means for NO3- (22-27mumol/L) and NH4+ (11-17mumol/L) were found to be 20%-60% and 40%-90% higher, respectively, than those reported from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Nitrate was the dominant inorganic nitrogen ion in precipitation at New Castle. In autumn, concentrations of continentally derived species in precipitation decreased substantially while sea salts increased. There was insufficient NH3 to fully neutralize HNO3 and H2SO4 in aerosols and precipitation. The overall atmospheric chemistry in this region was heavily dominated by anthropogenic pollution products. The samples collected were used in conjunction with 1000 hPa streamlines to classify sampled air masses according to their surface level transport and chemistry. Eight characteristic groups were defined; of these the three primary groups were polluted continental, ``clean'' continental, and marine. Highly variable mixing ratios of HNO3 and aerosol species were observed within each group from day to day, yet each group had a unique average chemical signature. On average, the HNO3 and aerosol mixing ratios observed in 1995 were roughly a factor of 2 lower than seen for the groups in other years. Overall, mixed conditions occurred in 42% of the samples, continental species were dominant in 37%, and marine species were dominant in 21%. Rain occurred frequently under sea-salt-dominant conditions; about 47% of the days classified as such had rain events. Fog chemistry and average aerosol chemical size distributions were evaluated based on which species dominated their chemical signatures, marine, continental, or a relatively even mixture of the two. Particulate NO3- was associated with sea-salt Na+ in the coarse aerosol fraction peaking at approximately 4 mum in diameter. There was also a distinct secondary peak in the submicron fraction observed in air dominated by continental aerosols. Particulate NH4+ was associated with non-sea-salt SO42- (nss-SO42-), with the bulk of the NH4+ present on particles in the 0.43-1.1 mum diameter range. Although nss-SO42- was primarily found in the submicron size range, a substantial fraction (>=25%) was found in the supermicron range for all three cases. Chloride was depleted on average 25% in aerosols and 13% in precipitation with respect to sea-salt aerosols, with the deficit greatest for particles in the 1.1-3.3 mum and 9.0-25 mum diameter ranges.
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Studies which utilize a long-term temperature record in determining the possibility of a global warming have led to conflicting results. We suggest that a time-series evaluation of mean annual temperatures is not sufficiently robust to determine the existence of a long-term warming. We propose the utilization of an air mass-based synoptic climatological approach, as it is possible that local changes within particular air masses have been obscured by the gross scale of temperature time-series evaluations used in previous studies of this type. An automated synoptic index was constructed for the winter months in four western North American Arctic locations to determine if the frequency of occurrence of the coldest and mildest air masses has changed and if the physical character of these air masses has shown signs of modification over the past 40 years. It appears that the frequencies of the majority of the coldest air masses have tended to decrease, while those of the warmest air masses have increased. In addition, the very coldest air masses at each site have warmed between 1°C to almost 4°C over the same time interval. A technique is suggested to determine whether these changes are possibly attributable to anthropogenic influences.
The `typical' global and large-scale regional temperature patterns associated with the low (warm) and high (cold) phases of the Southern Oscillation (SO) are investigated. A total of 12 separate regions were found to have consistent temperature patterns associated with low phase of the SO, while 11 areas were found to have temperature patterns associated with the high phase. Of these areas, 9 have expected temperature patterns during both phases of the SO. In the tropics, temperature anomalies are of the same sign as the SO-related sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly in all land regions except for one area in the west Pacific. Three extratropical responses to the low phase of the SO are found over North America and one is found in Japan. High SO-temperature patterns were found in the extratropies for Japan, western Europe, and northwestern North America. The identified temperature responses are more consistent in tropical regions than in the extratropies. The SO can influence the estimation of global surface temperature anomalies.