What is causing high ozone at Summit, Greenland?


Causes for the unusually high and seasonally anomalous ozone concentrations at Summit, Greenland were investigated. Surface data from continuous monitoring, ozone sonde data, tethered balloon vertical profiling data, correlation of ozone with the radionuclide tracers 7Be and 210Pb, and synoptic transport analysis were used to identify processes that contribute to sources and sinks of ozone at Summit. Northern Hemisphere (NH) lower free troposphere ozone mixing ratios in the polar regions are ∼20 ppbv higher than in Antarctica. Ozone at Summit, which is at 3212 m above sea level, reflects its altitude location in the lower free troposphere. Transport events that bring high ozone and dry air, likely from lower stratospheric/higher tropospheric origin, were observed ∼40% of time during June 2000. Comparison of ozone enhancements with radionuclide tracer records shows a year-round correlation of ozone with the stratospheric tracer 7Be. Summit lacks the episodic, sunrise ozone depletion events, which were found to reduce the annual, median ozone at NH coastal sites by up to ∼3 ppbv. Synoptic trajectory analyses indicated that, under selected conditions, Summit encounters polluted continental air with increased ozone from central and western Europe. Low ozone surface deposition fluxes over long distances upwind of Summit reduce ozone deposition losses in comparison to other NH sites, particularly during the summer months. Surface-layer photochemical ozone production does not appear to have a noticeable influence on Summit's ozone levels.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

Publication Date


Journal Title

Atmospheric Environment



Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type



Copyright © 2007 Published by Elsevier Ltd.