Ozone distributions over southern Lake Michigan: comparisons between ferry-based observations, shoreline-based DOAS observations and model forecasts
Abstract. Air quality forecast models typically predict large summertime ozone abundances over water relative to land in the Great Lakes region. While each state bordering Lake Michigan has dedicated monitoring systems, offshore measurements have been sparse, mainly executed through specific short-term campaigns. This study examines ozone abundances over Lake Michigan as measured on the Lake Express ferry, by shoreline differential optical absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) observations in southeastern Wisconsin and as predicted by the Community Multiscale Air Quality (CMAQ) model. From 2008 to 2009 measurements of O3, SO2, NO2 and formaldehyde were made in the summertime by DOAS at a shoreline site in Kenosha, WI. From 2008 to 2010 measurements of ambient ozone were conducted on the Lake Express, a high-speed ferry that travels between Milwaukee, WI, and Muskegon, MI, up to six times daily from spring to fall. Ferry ozone observations over Lake Michigan were an average of 3.8 ppb higher than those measured at shoreline in Kenosha, with little dependence on position of the ferry or temperature and with greatest differences during evening and night. Concurrent 1–48 h forecasts from the CMAQ model in the upper Midwestern region surrounding Lake Michigan were compared to ferry ozone measurements, shoreline DOAS measurements and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) station measurements. The bias of the model O3 forecast was computed and evaluated with respect to ferry-based measurements. Trends in the bias with respect to location and time of day were explored showing non-uniformity in model bias over the lake. Model ozone bias was consistently high over the lake in comparison to land-based measurements, with highest biases for 25–48 h after initialization.