Journal article

Regional levels of ozone in the troposphere over eastern Mediterranean

[1] During the last 5 years, information on the regional tropospheric ozone levels over the eastern Mediterranean has become available but was confined to measurements at ground level. Here available information is expanded with measurements at two more rural ground level sites spanning 8 latitude, ozonesonde ascents, lidar observations, ship cruises, and aircraft flights. During wintertime the ozone monthly values are 1020 ppbv higher than values at other European sites, while during summertime the values are comparable. This results in regional ozone background levels in the area that are above the European Union (EU) 32 ppb/ 24 hours phytotoxicity limit during the entire year. Late spring lidar observations show that south and southwestern synoptic flows which are associated with Saharan dust events result in lower ozone above the planetary boundary layer (PBL) by 20-35 ppbv as compared to these during northerly flows, which transport air from continental Europe. These lidar observations along with ship measurements during July show that ozone is enhanced 1.5-2.2 times in the continental outflow, when compared to aged maritime air or air from the African continent. These results along with ozonesonde observations suggest that ozone abatement in the area is largely beyond the control of regional emissions and can be controlled only with emission reductions on a European scale. During September, measured background NO and NO2 levels between 3 and 4.5 km above sea level ranged from 1 to 221 pptv and from 102 to 580 pptv, respectively. The troposphere contains around 40-70 Dobson units of ozone during summer and around 20-30 Dobson units during winter.


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