Mechanisms responsible for the build-up of ozone over South East England during the August 2003 heatwave

X.V. Francis, C. Chemel, R.S. Sokhi, E.G. Norton, H.M.A. Ricketts, B.E.A. Fisher

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The Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model is used in order to quantify reasons for the build-up of ozone over South East England during the August 2003 heatwave. Unlike previous studies, the effects of individual meteorological and chemical processes on the temporal evolution of the episode are assessed quantitatively in the present work. The performance of the modelling system was briefly evaluated. The modelling system was able to capture the evolution of the episode, with increasing ozone levels during the period 1-4 August 2003, and maximum values afterwards. Analysis of the results of the CMAQ model indicates that three mechanisms were mainly responsible for the episode: (i) horizontal transport from mainland Europe in the presence of a long-lived high-pressure system, (ii) convergence of westerly and easterly near-surface winds, and (iii) downward entrainment of ozone-rich air from residual layers in the free troposphere. The downward entrainment of ozone from residual layers in the morning is found to be key to enhancing ozone levels during the day. The relevance of this mechanism is supported by the good agreement of the model vertical ozone distribution with that derived from Light detection and ranging (Lidar) measurements. The process analysis of the rate of change of ozone concentration shows that both horizontal transport and vertical transport were equally important in explaining the variability of ozone. The contribution of chemical processes to the increase of ozone concentration as simulated by the modelling system is relatively small close to the surface. However, its contribution to the decrease of ozone concentration there becomes as important as that of meteorological processes. By investigating the role of separate meteorological and chemical mechanisms, this study hopes to add to the current understanding of the evolution of air pollution episode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6880-6890
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011
EventInternational Conference on Air Quality – Science and Application - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 24 Mar 200927 Mar 2009


  • process rate analysis
  • ozone
  • heatwave
  • CMAQ


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