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Department of Atmospheric Science

Wed., Apr. 19, 3:10 pm, EN6085

Direct measurements of ozone production rates in the Colorado Front Range: Instrument development and model-data comparisons

Dr. Bianca Baier

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Air quality models must accurately calculate the ozone formation rate, P(O3), to accurately predict ozone levels and to test ozone mitigation strategies. However, chemical mechanisms -- the “chemical calculators” for air quality models -- can sometimes create large uncertainties in P(O3) calculations and can propagate these uncertainties to ozone forecasts. One way to test chemical mechanisms is to compare modeled P(O3) to direct measurements. The Penn State Measurement of Ozone Production Sensor (MOPS) was developed nearly a decade ago to directly measure in situ ozone production rates and can help to evaluate modeled P(O3). A second-generation MOPS has since been developed and deployed to NASA’s DISCOVER-AQ field campaign in summer 2014 to measure P(O3) along the Colorado Front Range. Observed DISCOVER-AQ ozone production rates were compared to those calculated by a simple box model employing two different chemical mechanisms, and possible reasons for model-measurement mismatch are explored. If MOPS can accurately capture tropospheric ozone production rates, then these model-data comparisons can have important implications for the sensitivity of P(O3) to its precursors (nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds) during morning hours when ozone formation rates are highest, and can affect the determination of mitigation strategies for regions in non-attainment with ozone regulatory standards.

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