Summer ozone concentrations in the vicinity of the Great Salt Lake

John Horel
Erik Crosman
Alexander Jacques
Brian Blaylock
Seth Arens
Ansley Long
John Sohl
Randal Martin, Utah State University


Residents near the Great Salt Lake in northern Utah, USA have been exposed to ozone levels during recent summers exceeding the current United States National Ambient Air Quality Standard. Accurately forecasting those exceedances has been difficult as a result of the complex meteorological and photochemical processes fostering them. to help improve such forecasts, a low-cost field study was conducted during summer 2015 to provide comprehensive observations of boundary-layer ozone concentrations in the context of the prevailing meteorological conditions. A network of surface ozone sensors was supplemented by sensors mounted on vehicles, a public transit light-rail car, news helicopter, tethered sonde, and unmanned aerial vehicle. The temporal and spatial evolution of boundary-layer ozone concentrations were compared with the prevailing regional and local meteorological conditions on the basis of gridded operational analyses, surface weather stations, and additional sensory deployed for the field study. high ozone concentrations during June 2015 resulted primarily from local processes while smoke transported from distant wildfires contributed to elevated ozone concentrations during August. The Great Salt Lake influenced ozone concentrations along the Wasatch Front through several mechanisms most importantly its impact on local wind circulations. The highest ozone concentrations were often found in a narrow zone between the great salt lake and the urban regions to its south and east. Observations from multiple fixed site and mobile platforms during 18-19 August illustrate the complex variations in ozone concentrations as a function of elevation at the surface as well as vertically through the deep boundary layer.