This study examined the synoptic and regional-scale meteorological controls on summertime O3 at Mount Washington, the highest peak (1910 m) in the northeastern United States. Analysis of air mass transport to Mount Washington was conducted for the summers of 1998–2003 using backward trajectories. Distinct patterns in air mass history were revealed using this approach that helped explain extreme variations in O3 mixing ratios. Most enhanced (≥90th percentile) and depleted (≤10th percentile) O3 events were short-lived and spread out over the summer months. Enhanced O3 events at Mount Washington were generally associated with westerly transport, while depleted events corresponded to northwesterly transport. Periods of O3 greater than 80 ppbv during nighttime periods coincided with westerly (71%) and southwesterly (29%) transport. Periods of elevated O3 commonly occurred during regional warm sector flow or on the western edge of a surface anticyclone. Our analysis also identified a stratospheric contribution to a small percentage (∼5%) of extreme O3 events at the site, but more evidence is required to establish the significance of the contribution to background O3levels in this region.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Journal of Geophysical Research



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Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.