Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Surface ozone concentrations are observed to increase with rising temperatures, but the mechanisms responsible for this effect in rural and remote continental regions remain uncertain. Better understanding of the effects of temperature on ozone is crucial to understanding global air quality and how it may be affected by climate change. We combine measurements from a focused ground campaign in summer 2013 with a long-term record from a forested site in the rural southeastern United States, to examine how daily average temperature affects ozone production. We find that changes to local chemistry are key drivers of increased ozone concentrations on hotter days, with integrated daily ozone production increasing by 2.3 ppb ∘C−1. Nearly half of this increase is attributable to temperature-driven increases in emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), most likely by soil microbes. The increase of soil NOx emissions with temperature suggests that ozone will continue to increase with temperature in the future, even as direct anthropogenic NOx emissions decrease dramatically. The links between temperature, soil NOx, and ozone form a positive climate feedback.
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Romer, Paul S.; Duffey, Kaitlin C.; Wooldridge, Paul J.; Edgerton, Eric; Baumann, Karsten; Feiner, Philip A.; Miller, David O.; Brune, William H.; Koss, Abigail R.; de Gouw, Joost A.; Misztal, Pawel K.; Goldstein, Allen H.; and Cohen, Ronald C., "Effects of temperature-dependent NOx emissions on continental ozone production" (2018). Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Faculty Contributions. 85.