Simulations of a cold-air pool associated with elevated wintertime ozone in the Uintah Basin, Utah
- 1Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- 2Utah Division of Air Quality, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Abstract. Numerical simulations are used to investigate the meteorological characteristics of the 31 January–6 February 2013 cold-air pool in the Uintah Basin, Utah, and the resulting high ozone concentrations. Flow features affecting cold-air pools and air quality in the Uintah Basin are studied, including the following: penetration of clean air into the basin from across the surrounding mountains, elevated easterlies within the inversion layer, and thermally driven slope and valley flows. The sensitivity of the boundary layer structure to snow cover variations and cloud microphysics are also examined. Snow cover increases boundary layer stability by enhancing the surface albedo, reducing the absorbed solar insolation at the surface, and lowering near-surface air temperatures. Snow cover also increases ozone levels by enhancing solar radiation available for photochemical reactions. Ice-dominant clouds enhance cold-air pool strength compared to liquid-dominant clouds by increasing nocturnal cooling and decreasing longwave cloud forcing.