Observations of Ozone Formation in Power Plant Plumes and Implications for Ozone Control Strategies

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Science  27 Apr 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5517, pp. 719-723
DOI: 10.1126/science.1058113

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Data taken in aircraft transects of emissions plumes from rural U.S. coal-fired power plants were used to confirm and quantify the nonlinear dependence of tropospheric ozone formation on plume NOx (NO plus NO2) concentration, which is determined by plant NOxemission rate and atmospheric dispersion. The ambient availability of reactive volatile organic compounds, principally biogenic isoprene, was also found to modulate ozone production rate and yield in these rural plumes. Differences of a factor of 2 or greater in plume ozone formation rates and yields as a function of NOxand volatile organic compound concentrations were consistently observed. These large differences suggest that consideration of power plant NOx emission rates and geographic locations in current and future U.S. ozone control strategies could substantially enhance the efficacy of NOxreductions from these sources.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this report.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: tryerson{at}

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