Journal cover Journal topic
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 13627-13632, 2015
http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/15/13627/2015/
doi:10.5194/acp-15-13627-2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
10 Dec 2015
Updated ozone absorption cross section will reduce air quality compliance
E. D. Sofen1, M. J. Evans1,2, and A. C. Lewis1,2 1Wolfson Atmospheric Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK
2National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Chemistry, University of York, York, YO10 5DD, UK
Abstract. Photometric ozone measurements rely upon an accurate value of the ozone absorption cross section at 253.65 nm. This has recently been re-evaluated by Viallon et al. (2015) as 1.8 % smaller than the accepted value (Hearn, 1961) used for the preceding 50 years. Thus, ozone measurements that applied the older cross section systematically underestimate the amount of ozone in air. We correct the reported historical surface data from North America and Europe and find that this modest change in cross section has a significant impact on the number of locations that are out of compliance with air quality regulations if the air quality standards remain the same. We find 18, 23, and 20 % increases in the number of sites that are out of compliance with current US, Canadian, and European ozone air quality health standards for the year 2012. Should the new cross-section value be applied, it would impact attainment of air quality standards and compliance with relevant clean air acts, unless the air quality target values themselves were also changed proportionately. We draw attention to how a small change in gas metrology has a global impact on attainment and compliance with legal air quality standards. We suggest that further laboratory work to evaluate the new cross section is needed and suggest three possible technical and policy responses should the new cross section be adopted.

Citation: Sofen, E. D., Evans, M. J., and Lewis, A. C.: Updated ozone absorption cross section will reduce air quality compliance, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15, 13627-13632, doi:10.5194/acp-15-13627-2015, 2015.
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Short summary
As an air pollutant, O3 is monitored photometrically to assess compliance with air quality legislation. A recent study found a 1.8% reduction in its absorption cross section, which would lead to an equivalent increase in observed O3 concentrations. We estimate this would increase the number of sites out of compliance with air quality regulations in the EU and US by 20%. We draw attention to how small changes in gas metrology impacts attainment and compliance with legal air quality standards.
As an air pollutant, O3 is monitored photometrically to assess compliance with air quality...
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