Atmospheric Science

Ozone in the Gulf

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Science  06 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5919, pp. 1267
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5919.1267a

Ozone is a secondary pollutant formed in the interactions of reactive carbon compounds, nitrogen oxides, and ultraviolet sunlight, with large potential impacts on the health of both animals and plants. Tropospheric ozone is a naturally occurring atmospheric species, but the highest concentrations are found in sunny areas with abundant air pollution, such as the Los Angeles basin in California. Lelieveld et al. analyze another area in which ozone pollution is severe—the Persian Gulf region. The locale possesses all of the ingredients for ozone production in abundance: intense air pollution (arriving from long distances as well as originating from strong local anthropogenic emissions), unusually vigorous stratospheric-tropospheric exchange, sparse deep convective mixing and precipitation, and copious sunlight. Using an atmospheric chemistry model, air-quality measurements, and support from satellite data, the authors predict and observe intense ozone pollution during the period from 1996 to 2006. Reducing the levels of ozone pollution in this region will depend largely on both decreasing the amounts of long-range pollution advected to the region and reducing local sources of nitrogen oxides. — HJS

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