Publication Type:Journal Article
Source:Atmospheric Pollution Research (2012)
Hourly data (1994–2009) of surface ozone concentrations at eight monitoring sites have been investigated to assess target level and long–term objective exceedances and their trends. The European Union (EU) ozone target value for human health (60 ppb–maximum daily 8–hour running mean) has been exceeded for a number of years for almost all sites but never exceeded the set limit of 25 exceedances in one year. Second highest annual hourly and 4th highest annual 8–hourly mean ozone concentrations have shown a statistically significant negative trend for in–land sites of Cork–Glashaboy, Monaghan and Lough Navar and no significant trend for the Mace Head site. Peak afternoon ozone concentrations averaged over a three year period from 2007 to 2009 have been found to be lower than corresponding values over a three–year period from 1996 to 1998 for two sites: Cork–Glashaboy and Lough Navar sites. The EU long–term objective value of AOT40 (Accumulated Ozone Exposure over a threshold of 40 ppb) for protection of vegetation (3 ppm–hour, calculated from May to July) has been exceeded, on an individual year basis, for two sites: Mace Head and Valentia. The critical level for the protection of forest (10 ppm–hour from April to September) has not been exceeded for any site except at Valentia in the year 2003. AOT40–Vegetation shows a significant negative trend for a 3–year running average at Cork–Glashaboy (–0.13±0.02 ppm–hour per year), at Lough Navar (–0.05±0.02 ppm–hour per year) and at Monaghan (–0.03±0.03 ppm–hour per year–not statistically significant) sites. No statistically significant trend was observed for the coastal site of Mace head. Overall, with the exception of the Mace Head and Monaghan sites, ozone measurement records at Irish sites show a downward negative trend in peak values that affect human health and vegetation.