Ozone trends in Atlanta, Georgia: have emission controls been effective?
Nine years of summertime ozone data from the Atlanta metropolitan area are analyzed and compared to local emissions of volatile organic carbon and nitrogen oxides. Trends from 1979 to 1987 were studied for the number of days per year ozone exceeded the NAAQS standard, the second-highest ozone level observed per year, and the first quartile summertime average ozone observed, as well as the mean difference between the ozone level observed downwind and upwind of the city. Because this last parameter is sensitive to chemical factors but relatively insensitive to the number of days each year with meteorological conditions conducive to ozone formation, its trend may be best suited for determining how effective emission controls have been in reducing O3 in the Atlanta area. In spite of the fact that sizeable reductions have been claimed for volatile organic carbon emissions over the past several years, the data give no indication that ozone levels have decreased and in fact imply that summertime ozone production may have increased. The results imply that either emissions have not decreased as much as has been claimed or that ozone is not sensitive to anthropogenic volatile organic carbon emissions. In either event, a reevaluation of our nation's strategy for O3 abatement in Atlanta and comparable cities is needed.
Lindsay, RW; Richardson, JL; Chameides, WL
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