Tropospheric ozone and its regional transport over Cape Town


Nzotungicimpaye, C., B. J. Abiodun, & D. G. Steyn
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Scientific Publications
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Abstract - As part of efforts to understand the sources of air pollution in Cape Town, this study investigates the local variation of tropospheric ozone (O3) and identifies possible advection paths of O3 pollution from a remote source to Cape Town. Measurements of O3 and wind from three sites in the Cape Town area were analyzed to study the local variations of O3. At each site, the diurnal variation of O3 is found to be mainly driven by photochemical production while the seasonal variation of O3 is mostly driven by wind conditions. The highest concentration of O3 is observed at the remote site (Cape Point) while lowest O3 concentration is observed at the sub-urban site (Goodwood), where there are chemical sinks of O3 such as NOx. Atmospheric pollution over southern Africa was simulated to study the regional transport of O3. The simulations show that extreme O3 levels in Cape Town can be caused by air pollution transported from the industrial Highveld of South Africa, in the lower troposphere. Such extreme O3 pollution events over Cape Town are simulated to occur in January (14%), March (44%), April (28%) and September (14%). Lagrangian trajectories suggest four paths by which air parcels can be transported from the industrial Highveld to Cape Town: a north-easterly path which is the most frequent route, a tropical deviation route, a deviation along the south coastline and an oceanic deviation path which is the less frequent route. The major advection paths associated with poor air quality in Cape Town are the north-easterly route and the path along the south coastline of the country. Hence the study suggests that emissions in the industrial Highveld may contribute to O3 concentration in the Cape Town area.

Nzotungicimpaye, C., B. J. Abiodun, & D. G. Steyn (2014) Tropospheric ozone and its regional transport over Cape Town, Atmospheric Environment 87:228-238.

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