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Atmospheric Chemistry Measurements at Whiteface Mountain, NY: Ozone and Reactive Trace Gases

Category: Aerosol and Trace Gas Climatology

Volume: 16 | Issue: 3 | Pages: 873-884
DOI: 10.4209/aaqr.2015.05.0376
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Richard E. Brandt1, James J. Schwab 1, Paul W. Casson1, Utpal K. Roychowdhury1, Douglas Wolfe1, Kenneth L. Demerjian1, Kevin L. Civerolo2, Oliver V. Rattigan2, H. Dirk Felton2

  • 1 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany and Wilmington, NY 12222, USA
  • 2 Division of Air Resources, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY 12233, USA

Highlights

Trace gases are measured at Whiteface summit observatory and Marble lodge levels.
Summit observatory 40-year ozone trend is complex, but has declined recently.
SO2 and CO trends are quite clear, decreasing markedly over the past 25 years.
The wind sectors for greatest pollution transport to the site are W, SW, and S.
Summer ozone levels have decreased at the summit, while winter ozone has not.


Abstract

Measurements of ozone and reactive trace gases spanning four decades at the Whiteface Mountain summit observatory are presented. Ozone (O3) measurements began in the mid-1970’s, and acid rain and O3 precursor gas measurements became routine in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Measurements at the lower altitude lodge level have also been performed routinely since about 2000. The 40-year O3 record shows up and down fluctuations through the 1980’s, a relatively stable period into the early 2000’s, and indications of a decreasing trend over the past ten years. Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) trends are clearly decreasing over the roughly 25-year period of measurements at the summit observatory. Oxides of nitrogen (NOy and NO2) show rather more complicated trends, increasing to a maximum in the mid-2000’s, and decreasing sharply until 2011 with slight increases in concentration since then. Wind rose analysis shows the greatest contribution to high concentrations of precursor gases are from the west, southwest, and southern sectors, with SO2 and oxides of nitrogen having the most sharply defined high pollution sectors. Seasonal variations of trace gas concentrations at the summit and lodge levels are also examined. Ozone concentrations are highest in the spring months at both locations, and higher at the summit than the lodge. In contrast precursor gases (SO2 and NOx) show highest concentrations in winter months with the lodge consistently higher than the summit.

Keywords

Air quality Air pollution Trend analysis Seasonal variation Pollution roses


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