Title

Inversion structure and winter ozone distribution in the Uintah Basin, Utah, U.S.A.

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Atmospheric Environment

Volume

123

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Date

10-29-2015

First Page

156

Last Page

165

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.atmosenv.2015.10.067

Abstract

The Uintah Basin in Utah, U.S.A. experiences high concentrations of ozone during some winters due to strong, multi-day temperature inversions that facilitate the buildup of pollution from local sources, including the oil and gas industry. Together, elevation of monitoring sites and proximity to oil and gas wells explain as much as 90% of spatial variability in surface ozone concentrations during inversion episodes (i.e., R2 ¼ 0.90). Inversion conditions start earlier and last longer at lower elevations, at least in part because lower elevations are more insulated from winds aloft that degrade inversion conditions and dilute produced ozone. Surface air transport under inversions is dominated by light, diurnal upslope edownslope flow that limits net transport distances. Thus, different areas of the Basin are relatively isolated from each other, allowing spatial factors like elevation and proximity to sources to strongly influence ozone concentrations at individual sites.