1UPMC Univ. Paris 06, UMR8190, CNRS/INSU, LATMOS-IPSL – Université Versailles, St-Quentin, France
2ISAC-Institute for Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Research Council, Bologna, Italy
3DLR Institut für Physik der Atmosphäre, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany
4Danish Meteorological Institute, Lyngbyvej, Denmark
5Université de Toulouse, CNRS, LA (Laboratoire d'Aérologie), Toulouse, France
Abstract. During African Monsoon Multidisciplinary Analyses (AMMA) airborne measurements of ozone, CO and nitrogen oxides (NOx) were collected by French and German Falcon aircraft near three cities in West Africa (Cotonou, Niamey and Ouagadougou). They have been analysed to identify the good conditions to observe ozone plumes related to city emissions during the monsoon season. Results show that an O3 increase of 40–50 ppbv above the summer average concentration took place during two specific events: one near Cotonou on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and the other near Niamey in the Sahel region. In both cases a high level of NOx (3–5 ppbv) is related to the ozone production. Air mass transport simulations with FLEXPART and a tracer simulation with the BOLAM mesoscale model shows that Southern Hemisphere biomass burning emissions are always at higher altitude (>3 km) compared to the city emissions. In Niamey and Ouagadougou, the daily variability of ozone and CO correlates with the FLEXPART analysis showing the role of air mass stagnation near the city for 1–2 days and advection of emissions from the vegetated areas. Absence of ozone enhancements for high CO values can be explained by the occurrence of deep convection near the city. In the Sahel region, convection must be accounted for to understand the small number of observed ozone plumes but also to explain the high level of NOx in the 3–5 ppbv range, due to increasing soil emissions after rainfall. To verify that daily ozone production can reach 20 ppbv day−1 for the NOx and CO conditions encountered near West African cities, a simulation of the CiTTyCAT Lagrangian model was conducted using the observed average chemical composition reported by other aircraft during AMMA. Such ozone production is possible for NOx levels up to 5 ppb showing that West African cities are potentially significant sources of tropospheric ozone.