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Transatlantic transport of pollution and its effects on surface ozone in Europe and North America

Li, Qinbin; Jacob, Daniel J.; Bey, Isabelle; Palmer, Paul I.; Duncan, Bryan N.; Field, Brendan D.; Martin, Randall V.; Fiore, Arlene M.; Yantosca, Robert M.; Parrish, David D.; Simmonds, Peter G.; Oltmans, Samuel J.

We examine the transatlantic transport of anthropogenic ozone and its impact on surface ozone in Europe and North America by using a 5-year (1993–1997) simulation with the GEOS-CHEM global three-dimensional model of tropospheric chemistry. Long-term time series of ozone and CO at Mace Head (Ireland) and Sable Island (Canada) are used to evaluate transatlantic transport in the model. North American anthropogenic emissions contribute on average 5 ppbv to surface ozone at Mace Head, and up to 10–20 ppbv during transatlantic transport events, which are forerunners of broader events in Europe. These events are associated with low-level westerly flow driven by an intense Icelandic low between Iceland and the British Isles. North American influence on ozone at Mace Head is strongly correlated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), implying that the NAO index can be used to forecast transatlantic transport of North American pollution to Europe. European anthropogenic emissions contribute on average less than 2 ppbv to surface ozone at Sable Island but up to 5–10 ppbv during transatlantic transport events. These events are associated with low-level easterly flow established by anomalous low pressure at 45°N over the North Atlantic. North American anthropogenic emissions enhance surface ozone in continental Europe by 2–4 ppbv on average in summer and by 5–10 ppbv during transatlantic transport events; transport in the boundary layer and subsidence from the free troposphere are both important mechanisms. We find in the model that 20% of the violations of the European Council ozone standard (55 ppbv, 8-hour average) in the summer of 1997 over Europe would not have occurred in the absence of anthropogenic emissions from North America. North American influence on surface ozone in Europe is particularly strong at the thresholds used for the European standards (55–65 ppbv).

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Also Published In

Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Earth and Environmental Sciences
American Geophysical Union
Published Here
November 23, 2015
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