Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/acp-2017-160
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
22 Feb 2017
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Summer ozone in the Northern Front Range Metropolitan Area: Weekend-weekday effects, temperature dependences and the impact of drought
Andrew A. Abeleira and Delphine K. Farmer Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523, USA
Abstract. Contrary to most regions in the U.S., ozone in the Northern Front Range Metropolitan Area (NFRMA) of Colorado was either stagnant or increasing between 2000 and 2015, despite substantial reductions in NOx emissions. We used available long-term ozone and NOx data in the NFRMA to investigate these trends. Ozone increased from weekdays to weekends for a number of sites in the NFRMA with weekend reductions in NO2 at two sites in downtown Denver, indicating that the region was in a NOx-saturated ozone production regime. The stagnation and increases in ozone in the NFRMA are likely the result of (1) decreasing NOx emissions in a NOx-saturated environment, and (2) increased anthropogenic VOC emissions in the NFRMA. Further investigation of the weekday-weekend effect showed that the region outside of the most heavily trafficked Denver area was transitioning to peak ozone production towards NOx-limited chemistry. This transition implies that continued NOx decreases will result in ozone being less sensitive to changes in either anthropogenic or biogenic VOC reactivity in the NFRMA. Biogenic VOCs are unlikely to have increased in the NFRMA between 2000 and 2015, but are temperature dependent and likely vary by drought year. Ozone in the NFRMA has a temperature dependence, consistent with biogenic VOC contributions to ozone production in the region. We show that while ozone increased with temperature in the NFRMA, which is consistent with a NOx-saturated regime, this relationship is suppressed in drought years. We attribute this drought year suppression to decreased biogenic isoprene emissions due to long-term drought stress.

Citation: Abeleira, A. A. and Farmer, D. K.: Summer ozone in the Northern Front Range Metropolitan Area: Weekend-weekday effects, temperature dependences and the impact of drought, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., doi:10.5194/acp-2017-160, in review, 2017.
Andrew A. Abeleira and Delphine K. Farmer
Andrew A. Abeleira and Delphine K. Farmer

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