Can we explain the trends in European ozone levels?
1Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo, Norway
2Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), Kjeller, Norway
Abstract. Ozone levels in Europe are changing. Emissions of ozone precursors from Europe (NOx, CO and non-methane hydrocarbons) have been substantially reduced over the last 10–15 years, but changes in ozone levels can not be explained by changes in European emissions alone.
In order to explain the European trends in ozone since 1990 the EMEP regional photochemistry model has been run for the the years 1990 and 1995–2002. The EMEP model is a regional model centered over Europe but the model domain also includes most of the North Atlantic and the polar region. Climatological ozone data are used as initial and lateral boundary concentrations. Model results are compared to measurements over this timespan of 12 years. Possible causes for the measured trends in European surface ozone have been investigated using model sensitivity runs perturbing emissions and lateral boundary concentrations. The observed ozone trends at many European sites are only partially reproduced by global or regional photochemistry models, and possible reasons for this are discussed. The increase in winter ozone partially and the decrease in the magnitude of high ozone episodes is attributed to the decrease in ozone precursor emissions since 1990 by the model. Furthermore, the model calculations indicate that the emission reductions has resulted in a marked decrease in summer ozone in major parts of Europe, and in particular in Germany. Such a trend in summer ozone is likely to be difficult to identify from the measurements because of large inter-annual variability.