Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 10429-10455, 2009
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Increasing surface ozone concentrations in the background atmosphere of southern China, 1994–2007
T. Wang1, X. L. Wei1, A. J. Ding1, C. N. Poon1, K. S. Lam1, Y. S. Li1, L. Y. Chan1, and M. Anson2
1Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China
2Faculty of Construction and Land Use, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Abstract. Tropospheric ozone is of great importance with regard to air quality, atmospheric chemistry, and climate change. In this paper we report the first continuous record of surface ozone in the background atmosphere of South China. The data were obtained from 1994 to 2007 at a coastal site in Hong Kong, which is strongly influenced by the outflow of Asian continental air during the winter and the inflow of maritime air from the subtropics in the summer. Overall, the ozone concentration increased by an averaged rate of 0.55 ppbv/yr, with a larger increase in autumn (0.68 ppbv/yr). We also examine the trend in air masses from various source regions in Asia. Using local wind and concurrently measured carbon monoxide (CO) data to filter out local emissions, the mean ozone in air masses from eastern China, using the pooled averaging method, increased by 0.64 ppbv/yr, while ozone levels in other air-mass groups showed a positive trend (0.29–0.67 ppbv/yr) but with lower levels of statistical significance. An examination of the nitrogen dioxide (NO2) column concentration data obtained from GOME and SCIAMACHY reveals an increase in atmospheric NO2 in the three fastest developing coastal regions of China, whereas NO2 in other parts of Asia decreased during the same period. It is believed that the observed increase in background ozone in Hong Kong is primarily due to the increased emissions of NO2 (and possibly volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well) in the upwind coastal regions of mainland China, which is supported by the observed positive CO trend (5.23 ppbv/yr) at the site. The increase in background ozone contributed two thirds of the annual increase in ''total ozone'' in the downwind urban areas of Hong Kong, suggesting the need to consider distant sources when developing long-term strategies to mitigate local ozone pollution, although short-term strategies should be aimed at sources in Hong Kong and the adjacent Pearl River Delta.

Citation: Wang, T., Wei, X. L., Ding, A. J., Poon, C. N., Lam, K. S., Li, Y. S., Chan, L. Y., and Anson, M.: Increasing surface ozone concentrations in the background atmosphere of southern China, 1994–2007, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 9, 10429-10455, doi:10.5194/acpd-9-10429-2009, 2009.
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