Bay breeze influence on surface ozone at Edgewood, MD during July 2011
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- Stauffer, R.M., Thompson, A.M., Martins, D.K. et al. J Atmos Chem (2015) 72: 335. doi:10.1007/s10874-012-9241-6
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Surface ozone (O3) was analyzed to investigate the role of the bay breeze on air quality at two locations in Edgewood, Maryland (lat: 39.4°, lon: −76.3°) for the month of July 2011. Measurements were taken as part of the first year of NASA’s “Deriving Information on Surface Conditions from Column and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality” (DISCOVER-AQ) Earth Venture campaign and as part of NASA’s Geostationary for Coastal and Air Pollution Events Chesapeake Bay Oceanographic campaign with DISCOVER-AQ (Geo-CAPE CBODAQ). Geo-CAPE CBODAQ complements DISCOVER-AQ by providing ship-based observations over the Chesapeake Bay. A major goal of DISCOVER-AQ is determining the relative roles of sources, photochemistry and local meteorology during air quality events in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Surface characteristics, transport and vertical structures of O3 during bay breezes were identified using in-situ surface, balloon and aircraft data, along with remote sensing equipment. Localized late day peaks in O3 were observed during bay breeze days, maximizing an average of 3 h later compared to days without bay breezes. Of the 10 days of July 2011 that violated the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 8 h O3 standard of 75 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) at Edgewood, eight exhibited evidence of a bay breeze circulation. The results indicate that while bay breezes and the processes associated with them are not necessary to cause exceedances in this area, bay breezes exacerbate poor air quality that sustains into the late evening hours at Edgewood. The vertical and horizontal distributions of O3 from the coastal Edgewood area to the bay also show large gradients that are often determined by boundary layer stability. Thus, developing air quality models that can sufficiently resolve these dynamics and associated chemistry, along with more consistent monitoring of O3 and meteorology on and along the complex coastline of Chesapeake Bay must be a high priority.
1.1 Surface ozone regulation
Surface ozone (O3) is a secondary photochemical pollutant formed from a number of reactions involving volatile organic compounds (VOCs), nitrogen oxides (NOx ≡ NO + NO2) and sunlight. Ozone production and surface mixing ratios are also dependent on a complex combination of meteorological processes including incoming solar radiation, temperature, humidity, boundary layer height, and surface wind speed (Comrie 1990; Sillman and Samson 1995; Bloomer et al. 2009; Steiner et al. 2010; Banta et al. 2011). The ability of O3 to negatively affect respiratory systems in humans and vegetation photosynthesis (Krupa and Manning 1988; Burnett et al. 1994; Jerrett et al. 2009) has led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to adopt O3 as a criteria pollutant. Ozone is regulated by the current standard of 75 parts per billion by volume (ppbv), calculated using the daily maximum of an 8 h running mean (National Ambient Air Quality Standards or NAAQS, EPA).
1.2 Bay breeze association with coastal air quality
Coastal areas near urban centers are often subjected to poor air quality through either direct downwind transport of pollutants (Angevine et al. 2004), in-situ production of O3, or a recirculation brought about by a bay or sea breeze (Banta et al. 2005). Bay or sea breeze (bay breeze from hereon) circulations and their association with poor air quality have been extensively studied in various locations throughout the world (Gangoiti et al. 2002; Darby 2005; Darby et al. 2007; Zhang et al. 2007; Rappenglück et al. 2008; Wu et al. 2010; Banta et al. 2011; Loughner et al. 2011; Martins et al. 2012). This study will focus on the impact of bay breezes on air quality in the northern Chesapeake Bay region in the Mid-Atlantic United States.
The meteorological conditions that are typically associated with the formation of bay breeze circulations also favor enhanced O3 production. Warm temperatures and strong sunlight accelerate the reactions that produce O3, and the calm or light winds necessary to allow the bay breeze to become dominant can lead to additional accumulation of O3 through reduced boundary layer venting and dispersion. Differential heating of the land and water leads to hydrostatic pressure gradients that force the movement of near-surface air from water to land during the day under relatively quiescent large-scale flow (Miller et al. 2003). As the land cools much faster than water at night, a reversal of the temperature and pressure gradients can cause flow in directions opposite the afternoon bay breeze. This aids in the early morning transport of emissions from over the land to over the bay waters. The O3 produced from these emissions is then recirculated back over coastal sites via the bay breeze (Wang et al. 2001; Ding et al. 2004).
In addition to comparable meteorological conditions favoring both bay breeze initiation and O3 production, differences in the air masses and behavior of O3 between land and water surfaces introduce further effects. Mixing depths over water are typically lower than those found over land during the daytime due to water having a much higher heat capacity compared to land (Hsu and Blanchard 2003). When the stable over-water air mass is advected onto land, the mixing height is typically determined by the height of the Thermal Internal Boundary Layer when formed (TIBL; Raynor et al. 1979). TIBLs form when the stable air mass modified by its passage over a water body contacts the land surface and forms separate layers of stability within the terrestrial boundary layer. TIBLs are frequently much shallower than the terrestrial boundary layer. Through reduced mixing, this shallow, more statically stable zone concentrates pollutants that continue to be emitted from the terrestrial surfaces. Mixing depths in coastal areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay region have been shown to decrease significantly from inland sites (Berman et al. 1999), often attributed to bay or sea breeze effects. The pollutants concentrated in these shallow, stable layers are then trapped and transported inland via the bay breeze (Banta et al. 2005).
Further aiding the build-up of O3, characteristic deposition velocities of O3 over water are six times smaller than those over land (~0.07 cm s−1 vs. ~0.4 cm s−1 respectively; Lenschow et al. 1981; Lenschow et al. 1982; Hauglustaine et al. 1994; Wesely and Hicks 2000), yielding minimal O3 loss onto a water surface compared to a land surface through deposition. Compounding these factors with ideal meteorological conditions leads to the accumulation of high O3 mixing ratios and advection to nearby coastal locations.
This study uses numerous instruments from the July 2011 DISCOVER-AQ and Geo-CAPE CBODAQ deployments to investigate the bay breeze phenomenon. The goals are to examine the spatial and temporal evolution of O3 as it is affected by the bay breeze, as well as the vertical structure of O3 and atmospheric stability during these events.
Measurements utilized in this study with uncertainties/accuracies and the platforms on which they were deployed
TECO Inc., 49C
TECO Inc., 42C-Y
RM Young, #05103
Wind Speed, Direction
±0.3 m/s, ±3°
RM Young, #41382
±0.3 °C, ±1 % (at 23 °C)
ENSCI Corp., Model 2Z
Temperature, RH, Pressure
±0.3 °C, ±5 %, ±1.8 hPa (400–1070 hPa), ±0.5 hPa (4–400 hPa)
Sigma Space, Mini-MPL
Backscattered 532 nm
±2 % for all altitudes
Vertically Resolved Wind Speed, Direction
0.3–0.5 m/s, <1.5° (at <2.0 m/s)
Temperature, RH, Pressure
±0.5 °C, ±5 %, ±1.5 hPa
NCAR 4 Channel Chemiluminescence
General Eastern, 1011B
Rosemount, MADT 2014
TECO Inc., 49C
±1.0 ppbv (estimated)
Vaisala, PTU 300
Temperature, RH, Pressure
±0.2 °C, ±1 %, ±0.2 hPa (at 20 °C)
TECO Inc., 49
±5 % (estimated)
2.1 Edgewood, Maryland
The O3 design value, defined as the 3-year average of the fourth highest annual 8-h maximum O3 mixing ratio, determines compliance with the EPA NAAQS. In the Baltimore Non-Attainment Area (NAA; Maryland Department of the Environment), the highest O3 design value is consistently observed in Edgewood. In fact, Edgewood is the only monitor within its EPA Ozone Transport Region (OTR), an area stretching from Virginia to Massachusetts, that currently breaches the previous NAAQS of 84 ppbv enacted in 1997. Edgewood is also often the lone monitor in the Baltimore NAA to exceed the 75 ppbv standard on particular days (Landry 2011). It is believed that the bay breeze plays a major role in the exceptionally poor air quality at Edgewood (Piety 2007).
2.2 Edgewood mobile trailer measurements
The Nittany Atmospheric Trailer and Integrated Validation Experiment (NATIVE; lat: 39.410°, lon: −76.297°; see Martins et al. 2012 for full description), a mobile platform designed for atmospheric process studies and comparison of satellite, air quality and ground-based measurements, provided 1 min averaged in-situ chemical measurements at Edgewood, including O3, NO/NO2/NOx, total reactive nitrogen (NOy), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon monoxide (CO). Instruments for measuring atmospheric pressure, wind speed/direction, NO2 photolysis rates and UV radiation were also part of the NATIVE payload. Temperature and relative humidity were measured on a MDE trailer (FIPS Code: 240251001) located approximately 10 m from NATIVE.
Free-flying ozonesondes were also launched from the NATIVE site at Edgewood. The ozonesondes used the Electrochemical Concentration Cell (ECC; Komhyr 1969) technique. Ozonesondes were launched with an attached radiosonde (International Met Systems; iMet-1) equipped with temperature, humidity and pressure sensors. Ozonesondes were either launched twice a day to correspond with NASA P3-B aircraft spirals on flight days, or once daily to coincide with the Aura satellite overpass at approximately 1330 Eastern Standard Time (EST; all times presented are in EST due to the photochemical nature of O3 production).
Additional instruments were added to the NATIVE platform for the 2011 DISCOVER-AQ campaign. Sigma Space Mini Micropulse Lidar (MiniMPL) provided elastic lidar observations at Edgewood. The MiniMPL lidar transmitter consists of a 532 nm (frequency-doubled Nd: YAG laser) that operates at a 5,000 Hz repetition rate and average pulse energy of 3–4 μJ. The receiver consists of an 80 mm telescope that collects co-polarized backscattered light. The output from the telescope is conveyed to a photon counting silicon avalanche photo-diode (APD) manufactured by Perkin-Elmer. The raw data is converted to aerosol attenuated backscatter by taking into account instrumental factors that include corrections for detector dead time, geometrical overlap, background subtraction, and range-squared normalization. Recorded lidar profiles have temporal and vertical resolution of 1 min and 30 m, respectively.
The MPL lidar is a powerful tool for visualizing, in real time, with high temporal and spatial resolution, the planetary boundary layer (PBL). The PBL contains greater aerosol concentration than the above free troposphere because the aerosols, mainly produced near the surface, are trapped by a potential temperature inversion. The backscatter signal strength is dramatically reduced when returning from the free troposphere. A covariance wavelet technique (CWT) was applied to the lidar signal to determine the height of these gradients in the backscatter profiles. These heights were used as a proxy for the height of the PBL (Davis et al. 2000; Brooks 2003).
2.3 Eagle Point Edgewood measurements
The Millersville University Atmospheric Boundary Layer (MABL) facility was deployed to Eagle Point, APG approximately 2.7 km SE of NATIVE (Fig. 1; lat: 39.396°, lon: −76.269°) to provide surface and boundary layer observations in support of DISCOVER-AQ. MABL is an integrated multi-platform facility that includes surface trace gas analyzers and particle scattering instrumentation, a 4 m tower for measuring surface fluxes, MPL, and an acoustic sodar with radio acoustic sounding extension. These surface instruments integrate with aloft measurements obtained using a tethered aerostat, rigged to carry meteorological and air quality monitoring instrumentation. Trace gas concentrations were measured using a suite of Teledyne API analyzers; O3 Model 400A, NO/NO2/NOX Model 200A, SO2 Model 100A, and CO Model 300A, and sampled from the manifold at their respective specified volumetric flow rates at atmospheric pressure. Methods are identical to those of NATIVE for these gases. The response and concentration of each instrument was monitored at least weekly using the NATIVE multigas calibration system. A ScinTec Acoustic Sodar windRASS was used to produce time-height series of u, v, w wind components and virtual temperature. Self-tests were conducted daily on the sodar to assure within-spec operation. The tethered aerostat was used to carry aloft meteorological sensors, which measured temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed and wind direction using a Vaisala TTS111 tethersonde. In addition, the aerostat deployed 2B-Technologies Inc. trace gas analyzers for profiles of O3, NO, and NOx. Daily comparisons were made with surface analyzers. The 2Btech Model 205 measures O3 using UV absorption at 254 nm every 2 s and the measurements were averaged to 5 min to conform to the NO/NOX sampling rate. The Model 205 has a baseline drift of <1 ppbv day−1; sensitivity drift of <1 % day−1, and resolution of 0.1 ppbv. Uncertainty in O3 was 2 %. NO was obtained with a 2Btech Model 410 and is based on a selective reaction with O3 and the resulting change in UV absorption from the O3 depletion. A Model 401 Molybdenum converter was used to obtain NOX. Data were averaged to 5 min with uncertainty of 2 %.
2.4 MDE O3 measurements
Additional O3 measurements were taken at existing MDE locations within the DISCOVER-AQ domain at Aldino (FIPS Code: 240259001), Beltsville (240330030), Essex (240053001), Fair Hill (240150003), and Padonia (240051007), MD. In addition to Edgewood, these sites were the locations where NASA’s P3-B collected vertical profile spirals during the campaign. Aldino, Beltsville, and Essex are equipped with Thermo Scientific 49i or 49C O3 analyzers and Fair Hill and Padonia used Ecotech 9810 O3 analyzers. All surface O3 instruments in this study employ a UV-Photometry method where mixing ratios are determined from UV extinction through a sample cell.
2.5 Aircraft measurements
NASA’s P3-B and the University of Maryland’s Cessna 402B aircraft were deployed during the DISCOVER-AQ campaign to obtain vertical profiles of air quality measurements over ground sites. The aircraft occasionally performed profile spirals and transects at low altitudes across the Chesapeake Bay. O3 measurements from the P3-B were made using the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) 4-Channel Chemiluminescence Instrument, where ambient O3 is reacted with excess NO to produce photons. The photons are then counted using a cooled photomultiplier tube (PMT) and converted into an O3 mixing ratio in 1 s averages with 5 % uncertainty. The Cessna 402B employed a UV-Photometry method using a Thermo Scientific 49C O3 analyzer to produce 10 s averaged O3 mixing ratios with an estimated 1 ppbv uncertainty.
2.6 Ship measurements
The NOAA SRVx National Marine Sanctuary Test and Evaluation Vessel sailed the Chesapeake Bay from 11 to 20 July as part of the Geo-CAPE CBODAQ field campaign. Air and water quality measurements were made onboard the ship, including in-situ O3 observations over the water surface. Ozone on SRVx was measured using UV-Photometry with a Thermo Scientific 49 O3 analyzer averaged to 10 s with an estimated 5 % uncertainty.
2.7 Bay breeze identification
Meteorological criteria were set specifically for the Edgewood site and evaluated for each day to determine if a bay breeze circulation occurred. These requirements were: (1) a daytime wind shift from calm or offshore (southwesterly to easterly directions, moving clockwise from ~230° to 090°) to onshore (easterly to southwesterly directions, moving clockwise from ~100°–220°), (2) an increase in dew point temperature of at least 1 °C within 1 h after onset of wind shift, and (3) the lack of a meso-or synoptic scale front analyzed by the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC; hpc.noaa.gov). A criterion involving a steadying or decreasing dry bulb temperature was considered as in Sikora et al. (2010), but failed to discriminate further between bay breeze days and non-bay breeze days, and was thus eliminated.
3.1 Bay breeze days
3.2 Chesapeake Bay measurements
∆θ/∆z ≥ 5 K km−1 and θtop−θbase ≥ 2 K; (Heffter 1980)
∆θv/∆z ≥ 5 K km−1 and θvtop−θvbase ≥ 2 K
∆θv/∆z ≥ 5 K km−1 and θvtop−θvbase ≥ 1 K
∆θv/∆z ≥ 2 K km−1 and θvtop−θvbase ≥ 1 K
The two weaker θv criteria, methods 3 and 4, were required to calculate a mixed layer height from a P3-B profile from 26 July, a bay breeze day. A 1 K inversion in θv from 640 m to 520 m was enough to trap O3 near the surface with 43 ppbv measured at 600 m and 73 ppbv measured at 300 m. In addition, a P3-B profile from 11 July over the Chesapeake revealed a decrease in θv of 0.5 K from 300 m to 250 m, with a corresponding increase in O3 of 63 ppbv to 72 ppbv near the surface. None of the four methods for determining boundary layer heights marked this shallow and weak inversion on 11 July. Several weaker stable layers often exist within the first few kilometers that can trap high O3 near the bay water surface.
While the heights at which the strong inversion required by Heffter (1980) were marked matched well with the MPL-derived BLHs at Edgewood, the shallower and weaker inversions picked out by methods 3 and 4 can be enough to trap near-surface O3 over water and highlight the potential differences between mixing heights at coastal areas and over water surfaces as well as potential issues with MPL BLH determination methods in coastal areas.
The SRVx collected measurements in the Chesapeake Bay approximately 25 km south of Edgewood (Fig. 4a; 39.170°, −76.325°) from 0730 to 1700 EST on 20 July. A sharp gradient in O3 of 15.4 ppbv averaged from the hours of 1500–1800 EST is observed over this short distance from the Edgewood site to the ship. High surface O3 and large vertical gradients were also observed between the SRVx and the Cessna 402B on 20 July. The SRVx and Cessna measured O3 mixing ratio gradients of 16 ppbv between the surface and 600 m at 1230 EST, 10 ppbv between the surface and 300 m at 1500 EST, and 17 ppbv from the surface to 300 m at 1645 EST with the higher O3 measured by the ship on the water surface. Ozone gradients exist both vertically over the bay and horizontally from the land to the water. Both of these are caused by the aforementioned shallow stable layers formed over water, trapping surface O3. The horizontal and vertical gradients in O3 and shallow, weak layers of stability over the Chesapeake Bay water surface call for additional soundings and chemical measurements over water in this region in the future.
3.3 Temporal and spatial evolution of bay breeze O3
The bay breeze has a profound impact on surface O3 mixing ratios at Edgewood. The bay breeze consistently contributed to exceedances of the 75 ppbv NAAQS value at Edgewood during July 2011. Eight of the 9 days in which a bay breeze or interrupted bay breeze event was observed at Edgewood exceeded this standard, and the only two Code Red days occurred on bay breeze/“interrupted” days. The bay breeze day that did not exceed the EPA standard fell 1 ppbv short at 74 ppbv. The continuous advection of O3 late into the evening toward sunset has implications for the risk of extended exposure to the population. Ozone was found to peak an average of 3 h later when the bay breeze was sustained all day than other days in July 2011. The maximization of O3 well past the hours of highest incoming solar radiation around solar noon gives evidence that bay breeze transport is a dominant process at Edgewood, more so than at other sites. This phenomenon appears to play a defining role in Edgewood’s poor air quality relative to other O3 monitors in the Baltimore NAA.
The observation of land/water horizontal and vertical gradients of O3 over the Chesapeake Bay on four separate days during DISCOVER-AQ 2011 point to a need for more consistent monitoring of air quality over the Chesapeake Bay waters, allowing more statistically stringent analyses to determine if the existence of higher O3 mixing ratios over the Chesapeake is commonplace during the summer months. Land-water O3 gradients and inhibited vertical mixing over cooler water surfaces are key components of the bay breeze/coastal air quality dynamic.
The bay breeze front often acts as a boundary between terrestrial air masses and O3-rich air masses existing over the bay. The event at Eagle Point on 29 July is a good example of such a case. Prior to the development of computer resources sufficient to run models on a high enough resolution to capture the scales on which bay breezes occur, derived indices were relied upon to predict the potential for bay or water-body breezes (Biggs and Graves 1962; Laird et al. 2001; Sikora et al. 2010). The complex coastline and warm (relative to large bodies of water) waters of the Chesapeake Bay make predicting these important small-scale circulations difficult and require fine-scale meteorological modeling for resolution of the bay breeze. This work also expressed the importance of vertical stability over the bay and over land during bay breezes, which has a strong effect on the vertical and horizontal distribution of O3. Thus, accurately modeling boundary layer heights in this region is also paramount. In-depth investigations into chemical and meteorological modeling results from DISCOVER-AQ 2011 will be pursued in future research.
A long term study into the potential differences in total and tropospheric column O3 should be performed to find statistical differences between bay breeze and non-bay breeze days using either satellite overpass data from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on board the Aura satellite or the continuous ground-based measurements provided by the Pandora instrument (Herman et al. 2009; Tzortziou et al. 2012). Analyses of column trace gases of O3 and NO2 during DISCOVER-AQ in support of the upcoming NASA Geo-CAPE mission will also be the focus of future research.
Funding and research for this project was provided by the NASA DISCOVER-AQ grant NNX10AR39G as well as NASA grant NNX08AJ15G. The authors would like to thank James Crawford, Mary Kleb, Kenneth Pickering, Gao Chen and all the DISCOVER-AQ participants for their support and contributions. Thanks also to Lacey Brent for ship and aircraft measurements with additional support from MDE, and NIST for calibration assistance. Thanks to Andrew Weinheimer (NCAR), Edwin Gluth, Laura Warren, Jennifer Hains, Mike Woodman and Dave Krask (MDE), and Hannah Halliday, Greg Garner, Andra Reed, Debra Kollonige (PSU) for their assistance and Bill Ryan (PSU) for his early insights into the potential for bay breeze effects on ozone.
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