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Surface ozone in the White Mountains of CaliforniaAuthor(s): Joel Burley; Andrzej Bytnerowicz
Source: Atmospheric Environment, 45, 4591-4602
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
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DescriptionSurface ozone concentrations are presented for four high-elevation sites along a northesouth transect along the spine of the White Mountains and a fifth site located at lower elevation approximately 15 km to the west on the floor of the Owens Valley. The ozone data, which were collected from mid-June through mid-October of 2009, include results from two sites, White Mountain Summit (4342 m elevation) and Barcroft Station (3783 m), that are believed to be higher in elevation than any previously investigated sampling locations in North America. Average daily ozone values from the five sampling sites display similar day-to-day and week-to-week temporal fluctuations, which suggest that the sites are experiencing the same regional-scale background patterns in air quality and meteorology. Ozone concentrations increase with increasing elevation, consistent with findings from prior studies in Europe and North America. A linear elevation gradient of þ0.0042 ppbm-1 is obtained for July 15eAugust 15, but analogous gradients for August 15eSeptember 15 and September 15eOctober 15 show reduced linearity and possibly the onset of a plateau in ozone concentrations for elevations above 2000 m. Average diurnal cycle magnitudes decrease with increasing elevation, falling from w25e35 ppb for the Owens Valley site to w3e7 ppb at three of the four high-elevation sites. Diurnal cycle magnitudes decrease (or remain roughly constant) at the non-Summit sites during the progression from mid-July to mid-October, but the magnitude of the diurnal cycle at the Summit increases from w3 ppb to w7 ppb over this same time frame. This latter result is inconsistent with results from previous investigations at other alpine sites, and may indicate the presence of local, topography-influenced mixing dynamics that are unique to the White Mountains. High hourly ozone concentrations at White Mountain Summit are found to correlate with 72-hour HYSPLIT back-trajectories that reflect enhanced levels of ozone transport from polluted regions (such as the Central Valley of California) or meteorological conditions that are favorable for ozone production. Low ozone concentrations at the Summit are found to correlate with HYSPLIT backtrajectories that reflect reduced levels of ozone transport from polluted areas or meteorological conditions that are unfavorable for ozone production.
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CitationBurley, J. Bytnerowicz, A. 2011. Surface ozone in the White Mountains of California. Atmospheric Environment, 45, 4591-4602
KeywordsSurface ozone, Portable ozone monitor, White Mountains, Elevation profile, HYSPLIT model
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