Hourly surface meteorological measurements were coupled with surface ozone (O3) mixing ratio measurements at Hampton, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland, two sites along the Chesapeake Bay in the Mid-Atlantic United States, to examine the behavior of surface O3 during bay breeze events and quantify the impact of the bay breeze on local O3 pollution. Analyses were performed for the months of May through September for the years 1986 to 2010. The years were split into three groups to account for increasingly stringent environmental regulations that reduced regional emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx): 1986-1994, 1995-2002, and 2003-2010. Each day in the 25-year record was marked either as a bay breeze day, a non-bay breeze day, or a rainy/cloudy day based on the meteorological data. Mean eight hour (8-h) averaged surface O3 values during bay breeze events were 3 to 5 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) higher at Hampton and Baltimore than on non-bay breeze days in all year periods. Anomalies from mean surface O3 were highest in the afternoon at both sites during bay breeze days in the 2003-2010 study period. In conjunction with an overall lowering of baseline O3 after the 1995-2002 period, the percentage of total exceedances of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 75 ppbv 8-h O3 standard that occurred on bay breeze days increased at Hampton for 2003-2010, while remaining steady at Baltimore. These results suggest that bay breeze circulations are becoming more important to causing exceedance events at particular sites in the region, and support the hypothesis of Martins et al. (2012) that highly localized meteorology increasingly drives air quality events at Hampton.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Atmospheric Science