Winter Rain and Summer Ozone: A Predictive Relationship

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Science  02 Jun 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4345, pp. 1051-1054
DOI: 10.1126/science.200.4345.1051


Insights from dendrochronology have provided a new seasonal predictor for air pollution meteorology. In the San Francisco Bay Area summer ozone excesses over the federal ozone standard are correlated (correlation coefficient r = .87) with precipitation for the two preceding winters, a factor related to tree-ring width in a precipitation-stressed climate. The hypothesis that reactive hydrocarbon emissions from vegetative biomass affects these ozone excesses was supported by a similar correlation between summer hydrocarbon average maximums and the two-winter precipitation factor, reaching r = .88 at suburban stations. A weak tendency for hot summers to follow wet winters (in 16 years of California data) explains only a minor part of the ozone-rain relationship in multiple correlations.