Enhancements in nocturnal surface ozone at urban sites in the UK

Pavan S. Kulkarni (Lead Author), D. Bortoli, A.M. Silva, C. E. Reeves

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Analysis of diurnal patterns of surface ozone (O3) at multiple urban sites in the UK shows the occurrence of prominent nocturnal enhancements during the winter months (November–March). Whilst nocturnal surface ozone (NSO) enhancement events have been observed at other locations, this is the first time that such features have been demonstrated to occur in the UK and the second location globally. The observed NSO enhancement events in the UK were found to be so prevalent that they are clearly discernible in monthly diurnal cycles averaged over several years of data. Long-term (2000–2010) analysis of hourly surface ozone data from 18 urban background stations shows a bimodal diurnal variation during the winter months with a secondary nighttime peak around 0300 hours along with the primary daytime peak. For all but one site, the daily maxima NSO concentrations during the winter months exceeded 60 μg/m3 on >20 % of the nights. The highest NSO value recorded was 118 μg/m3. During the months of November, December, and January, the monthly averaged O3 concentrations observed at night (0300 h) even exceeded those observed in the daytime (1300 h). The analysis also shows that these NSO enhancements can last for several hours and were regional in scale, extending across several stations simultaneously. Interestingly, the urban sites in the north of the UK exhibited higher NSO than the sites in the south of the UK, despite their daily maxima being similar. In part, this seems to be related to the sites in the north typically having lower concentrations of nitrogen oxides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20295-20305
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number24
Early online date26 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Bimodal diurnal variation
  • UK
  • Nocturnal surface ozone
  • Urban background stations

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