Meteorologically adjusted urban air quality trends in the Southwestern United States

Erika K. Wise, Andrew Comrie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

110 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cities in the Southwestern United States (Southwest) are often close to violating tropospheric ozone (ozone) and particulate matter (PM) federal air quality standards, and local climate and weather conditions play a large part in determining whether or not pollutant levels exceed the federally mandated limits and by what magnitude. The Kolmogorov-Zurbenko (KZ) filter method has been used in a number of studies in the Eastern United States to determine meteorological controls on ozone concentrations and to separate out those effects in order to examine underlying trends. The Southwest, however, experiences a different climate regime than other parts of the country, and atmospheric controls on air quality in the region have not been examined in this manner. This paper determines which meteorological variables most influence ozone and PM in the Southwest and examines patterns of underlying pollutant trends due to emissions. Ozone and PM data were analyzed over the time period 1990-2003 for the Southwest's five major metropolitan areas: Albuquerque, NM; El Paso, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Phoenix, AZ; and Tucson, AZ. Results indicate that temperature and mixing height most strongly influence ozone conditions, while moisture levels (particularly relative humidity) are the strongest predictors of PM concentrations in all five cities examined. Meteorological variability typically accounts for 40-70% of ozone variability and 20-50% of PM variability. Long-term ozone trends are highly variable, but records from most stations indicate increasing concentrations over the last decade. Long-term trends in PM concentrations were relatively flat in all five cities analyzed but contained coincident extremes unrelated to meteorology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2969-2980
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Volume39
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2005

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Air quality
Ozone
air quality
ozone
particulate matter
Air quality standards
Meteorology
trend
climate conditions
meteorology
metropolitan area
relative humidity
Atmospheric humidity
moisture
Moisture
filter
pollutant
climate
city
temperature

Keywords

  • Air pollution
  • Climate
  • Kolmogorov-Zurbenko filter
  • KZ filter
  • Particulate matter
  • PM
  • Tropospheric ozone
  • US Southwest
  • Weather

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution

Cite this

Meteorologically adjusted urban air quality trends in the Southwestern United States. / Wise, Erika K.; Comrie, Andrew.

In: Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 39, No. 16, 05.2005, p. 2969-2980.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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