Long-term Measurements of Summer-time Ozone at the Walnut Grove Tower – Understanding Trends in the Boundary Layer

Tuesday, 15 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Abdullah Mahmud, Pingkuan Di, Dartanion Mims, Jeremy Avise, John DaMassa and Ajith P Kaduwela, California Air Resources Board, Sacramento, CA, United States
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has been monitoring boundary layer ozone at the Walnut Grove Tower (WGT) since 1996 for investigating regional transport and vertical profile. Walnut Grove is located between Sacramento and Stockton, CA in the Sacramento – San Joaquin Delta. Sampling inlets are positioned at 30-ft, 400-ft, 800-ft, 1200-ft and 1600-ft levels of the 2000-ft tower, which is one of the tallest monitoring towers in the Western US. Ozone, ambient temperature, wind speed, and wind direction are simultaneously measured at each level, and reported as hourly averages. The current study included analyses of available ozone and corresponding meteorological data for the months of June – September from 1996 – 2014 with objectives to: 1) explore trends and inter-annual variability of ozone, 2) examine any correlations between ozone and meteorological parameters, 3) understand interactions of ozone measured at various levels, and 4) assess how well a regulatory state-of-the-science air quality model such as the Community Multi-scale Air Quality Model (CMAQ) captures observation. Daily 1-hr maximum ozone has been consistently decreasing during the 1996 – 2014 period at a rate of ~1 ppb per year. This indicates that CARB’s measures to control ambient ozone have been effective over the past years. Evolution of the vertical profile throughout the day shows that ozone is fairly homogeneously mixed between 1 – 5 pm, when mixing height typically reaches the maximum. Ozone at 30-ft shows the greatest variability because of its proximity to the ground and emissions sources - rises faster during morning hours (7 – 10 am) and declines more rapidly during evening hours (7 – 10 pm) compared to other levels. Air masses reaching the tower are predominantly southwesterly (247 – 257 deg.) at the bottom, and southwesterly to slightly northwesterly (254 – 302 deg.) at top levels. Daily 1-hr maximum ozone was negatively correlated with wind speed (i.e. ozone was high under low wind condition) and positively correlated with ambient temperature (i.e. ozone was high under high temperature condition) during ~40% and ~50% of the time, respectively. A modeling exercise for Jun – Sep of 2012 shows that CMAQ captures the observed evolution and vertical mixing of ozone throughout the day quite well in the boundary layer.