2005–2017 ozone trends and potential benefits of local measures as deduced from air quality measurements in the north of the Barcelona metropolitan area

Massagué, Jordi; Carnerero, Cristina; Escudero, Miguel; Baldasano, José María; Alastuey, Andrés; Querol, Xavier

We analyzed 2005–2017 data sets on ozone (O3) concentrations in an area (the Vic Plain) frequently affected by the atmospheric plume northward transport of the Barcelona metropolitan area (BMA), the atmospheric basin of Spain recording the highest number of exceedances of the hourly O3 information threshold (180 µg m−3). We aimed at evaluating the potential benefits of implementing local-BMA short-term measures to abate emissions of precursors. To this end, we analyzed in detail spatial and time variations of concentration of O3 and nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2, including OMI remote sensing data for the latter). Subsequently, a sensitivity analysis is done with the air quality (AQ) data to evaluate potential O3 reductions in the north of the BMA on Sundays compared with weekdays as a consequence of the reduction in regional emissions of precursors.

The results showed a generalized decreasing trend for regional background O3 as well as the well-known increase in urban O3 and higher urban NO decreasing slopes compared with those of NO2. The most intensive O3 episodes in the Vic Plain are caused by (i) a relatively high regional background O3 (due to a mix of continental, hemispheric–tropospheric and stratospheric contributions); by (ii) intensive surface fumigation from mid-troposphere high O3 upper layers arising from the concatenation of the vertical recirculation of air masses; but also by (iii) an important O3 contribution from the northward transport/channeling of the pollution plume from the BMA. The high relevance of the local-daily O3 contribution during the most intense pollution episodes is clearly supported by the O3 (surface concentration) and NO2 (OMI data) data analysis.

A maximum decrease potential (by applying short-term measures to abate emissions of O3 precursors) of 49 µg O3 m−3 (32 %) of the average diurnal concentrations was determined. Structurally implemented measures, instead of episodically, could result in important additional O3 decreases because not only the local O3 coming from the BMA plume would be reduced, but also the recirculated O3 and thus the intensity of O3 fumigation in the plain. Therefore, it is highly probable that both structural and episodic measures to abate NOx and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the BMA would result in evident reductions of O3 in the Vic Plain.

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Massagué, Jordi / Carnerero, Cristina / Escudero, Miguel / et al: 2005–2017 ozone trends and potential benefits of local measures as deduced from air quality measurements in the north of the Barcelona metropolitan area. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Jordi Massagué et al.

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