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Evaluating Summer-Time Ozone Enhancement Events in the Southeast United States

Johnson, M. S., S. Kuang, L. Wang, and M. Newchurch (2016), Evaluating Summer-Time Ozone Enhancement Events in the Southeast United States, Atmosphere, 7, 108, doi:10.3390/atmos7080108.

This study evaluates source attribution of ozone (O3 ) in the southeast United States (US) within O3 lamina observed by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Tropospheric Ozone Lidar Network (TOLNet) system during June 2013. This research applies surface-level and airborne in situ data and chemical transport model simulations (GEOS-Chem) in order to quantify the impact of North American anthropogenic emissions, wildfires, lightning NOx , and long-range/stratospheric transport on the observed O3 lamina. During the summer of 2013, two anomalous O3 layers were observed: (1) a nocturnal near-surface enhancement and (2) a late evening elevated (3–6 km above ground level) O3 lamina. A “brute force” zeroing method was applied to quantify the impact of individual emission sources and transport pathways on the vertical distribution of O3 during the two observed lamina. Results show that the nocturnal O3 enhancement on 12 June 2013 below 3 km was primarily due to wildfire emissions and the fact that daily maximum anthropogenic emission contributions occurred during these night-time hours. During the second case study it was predicted that above average contributions from long-range/stratospheric transport was largely contributing to the O3 lamina observed between 3 and 6 km on 29 June 2013. Other models, remote-sensing observations, and ground-based/airborne in situ data agree with the source attribution predicted by GEOS-Chem simulations. Overall, this study demonstrates the dynamic atmospheric chemistry occurring in the southeast US and displays the various emission sources and transport processes impacting O3 enhancements at different vertical levels of the troposphere.

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