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Influence of daily variations in baseline ozone on urban air quality in the United States Pacific Northwest

Authors

  • Nicole L. Wigder,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
    • Corresponding author: N. L. Wigder, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, 408 Atmospheric Sciences-Geophysics Building, Box 351640, Seattle, WA 98195, USA. (nwigder@uw.edu)

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  • Daniel A. Jaffe,

    1. Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
    2. Science and Technology Program, University of Washington-Bothell, Bothell, Washington, USA
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  • Farren L. Herron-Thorpe,

    1. Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA
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  • Joseph K. Vaughan

    1. Laboratory for Atmospheric Research, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, USA
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Abstract

[1] We examine the influence of daily variations in baseline ozone (O3) on urban air quality in the U.S. Pacific Northwest (PNW) during 2004 to 2010 through two analyses: (1) transport of free tropospheric (FT) O3 from Mount Bachelor Observatory (MBO) to Boise, Idaho; and (2) transport of marine boundary layer (MBL) O3 from Cheeka Peak (CP) to Enumclaw, Washington. Both Boise and Enumclaw experience days with maximum daily 8 hour averages of O3 (MDA8) exceeding U.S. standards. Backward trajectory cluster analyses identify days when FT and MBL O3 strongly influence MDA8 in Boise and Enumclaw. On these days, MBO and CP O3 observations explain 40% and 69% of the variations in Boise and Enumclaw MDA8, respectively. Bivariate regressions for Boise/MBO and Enumclaw/CP have slopes of 0.52 ± 0.16 and 1.04 ± 0.08, respectively, representing the differing interplay of O3 dilution, production, and loss during FT to boundary layer transport (Boise/MBO) and fast boundary layer transport (Enumclaw/CP). AIRPACT-3/CMAQ (Air Indicator Report for Public Access and Community Tracking version 3/Community Multi-scale Air Quality model) high-resolution air-quality simulation results demonstrate how transport of O3 from the FT above MBO contributes to elevated O3 at Boise. Average MDA8 O3 in Boise is higher than in Enumclaw due to site elevation and greater entrainment of FT air masses, a finding likely applicable to other PNW sites. Days with high baseline influence at Boise and Enumclaw have lower average MDA8 O3 than other days; however, some of these days would still exceed the U.S. standard if it is substantially tightened in 2013, highlighting the increasing importance of FT O3 influence on urban MDA8.