Monday, 11 January 2016
High concentrations of ground-level ozone in the troposphere have negative impacts on human health and other biological organisms. As the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to lower the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ozone from 75 to 65-70 parts per billion (ppb), it is important to further study the relationship between both anthropogenic and natural pollutants that lead to production and accumulation of surface ozone. Ground-level ozone data from Trinidad Head, California (THD) was analyzed from 2010-2014 to investigate the factors contributing to high ground-level ozone events. For this research project, a high ozone event was defined as ground-level ozone readings greater than the 90th percentile of the seasonal ozone variability observed during the 2003-2014 period. The ozone exceedances were also required to last for three continuous hours or more. Meteorological parameters, such as wind speed and synoptic patterns, were taken into account. In addition, impacts related to stratospheric intrusions, Asian pollution transport, and the influence of local forest fires were considered. We show that high ground-level ozone events at THD occur during a dominant wind direction and are highly dependent on the origin of the air mass. This understanding of enhanced ground-level ozone drivers will provide a foundational knowledge of climate adaptation and mitigation with improved scientific understanding of the changing climate and its impacts.
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