Variability and sources of surface ozone at rural sites in Nevada, USA: results from two years of the Nevada Rural Ozone Initiative

Rebekka Fine*, Matthieu B. Miller, Joel Burley, Daniel A. Jaffe, R. Bradley Pierce, Meiyun Lin, Mae Sexauer Gustin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Ozone (O3) has been measured at Great Basin National Park (GBNP) since September 1993. GBNP is located in a remote, rural area of eastern Nevada. Data indicate that GBNP will not comply with a more stringent National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for O3, which is based upon the 3-year average of the annual 4th highest Maximum Daily 8-h Average (MDA8) concentration. Trend analyses for GBNP data collected from 1993 to 2013 indicate that MDA8 O3 increased significantly for November to February, and May. The greatest increase was for May at 0.38, 0.35, and 0.46ppbyr-1 for the 95th, 50th, and 5th percentiles of MDA8 O3 values, respectively. With the exception of GBNP, continuous O3 monitoring in Nevada has been limited to the greater metropolitan areas. Due to the limited spatial detail of O3 measurements in rural Nevada, a network of rural monitoring sites was established beginning in July 2011. For a period ranging from July 2011 to June 2013, maximum MDA8 O3 at 6 sites occurred in the spring and summer, and ranged from 68 to 80ppb. Our analyses indicate that GBNP, in particular, is ideally positioned to intercept air containing elevated O3 derived from regional and global sources. For the 2year period considered here, MDA8 O3 at GBNP was an average of 3.1 to 12.6ppb higher than at other rural Nevada sites. Measured MDA8 O3 at GBNP exceeded the current regulatory threshold of 75ppb on 7 occasions. Analyses of synoptic conditions, model tracers, and air mass back-trajectories on these days indicate that stratospheric intrusions, interstate pollution transport, wildfires, and Asian pollution contributed to elevated O3 observed at GBNP. We suggest that regional and global sources of ozone may pose challenges to achieving a more stringent O3 NAAQS in rural Nevada.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-482
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • interstate transport
  • long-range transport
  • national ambient air quality standards
  • ozone air quality
  • stratospheric intrusions
  • wildfires


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