Sources of surface O3 in the UK: Tagging O3 within WRF-Chem

Johana Romero-Alvarez, Aurelia Lupaşcu, Douglas Lowe, Alba Badia, Scott Archer-Nicholls, Stephen Dorling, Claire E. Reeves, Tim Butler

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Tropospheric ozone (O3) concentrations depend on a combination of hemispheric, regional, and local-scale processes. Estimates of how much O3 is produced locally vs. transported from further afield are essential in air quality management and regulatory policies. Here, a tagged-ozone mechanism within the Weather Research and Forecasting model coupled with chemistry (WRF-Chem) is used to quantify the contributions to surface O3 in the UK from anthropogenic nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from inside and outside the UK during May–August 2015. The contribution of the different source regions to three regulatory O3 metrics is also examined. It is shown that model simulations predict the concentration and spatial distribution of surface O3 with a domain-wide mean bias of −3.7 ppbv. Anthropogenic NOx emissions from the UK and Europe account for 13 % and 16 %, respectively, of the monthly mean surface O3 in the UK, as the majority (71 %) of O3 originates from the hemispheric background. Hemispheric O3 contributes the most to concentrations in the north and the west of the UK with peaks in May, whereas European and UK contributions are most significant in the east, south-east, and London, i.e. the UK's most populated areas, intensifying towards June and July. Moreover, O3 from European sources is generally transported to the UK rather than produced in situ. It is demonstrated that more stringent emission controls over continental Europe, particularly in western Europe, would be necessary to improve the health-related metric MDA8 O3 above 50 and 60 ppbv. Emission controls over larger areas, such as the Northern Hemisphere, are instead required to lessen the impacts on ecosystems as quantified by the AOT40 metric.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13797–13815
Number of pages19
JournalAtmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022

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