S28 Ground Level Ozone Production on High Albedo Days in Denver, CO

Sunday, 10 January 2016
Hall E ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Jordan Kehaulani Wilkes, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Denver, CO

Ozone located in the Troposphere is essential for life on Earth. It is made naturally and helps to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays produced by the Sun. However, ground level ozone and its relationship with solar radiation is a much different case. This ozone located in the troposphere where humans reside is anything but natural or beneficial. This toxic pollutant is created by the burning of fossil fuels. Burning of fossil fuels releases nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons that react with sunlight to create ground level ozone. Past research has found that ground ozone levels rise during summer months when sunlight is abundant. Although there is less solar radiation during the winter months, due to the tilt of the Earth away from the Sun, solar radiation amounts fluctuate depending on the albedo of snow. Incoming solar radiation is either absorbed in the atmosphere, absorbed at the surface, or reflected. The amount that is reflected and absorbed at the surface can depend on cloud cover, atmospheric particles, or bright ground surfaces such as sea ice and snow. The purpose of this research is to determine whether the solar radiation being reflected during snowy days in Denver affects the amount of ground level ozone. To achieve this, ozone concentration, solar radiation, and precipitation are plotted using data from a local group, the GO3 Project. The comparison of snow fall and solar radiation helps determine how the albedo of snow affects the amount of solar radiation reflected in the area. Solar radiation data is then compared to ground level ozone to determine the relationship between the solar radiation produced by the albedo of snow and ground level ozone. Knowing how the albedo of snow affects ground level ozone production helps Denver and areas with similar climate prepare for the presence of this toxic pollutant.
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