Articles | Volume 16, issue 10
Research article
20 May 2016
Research article |  | 20 May 2016

Long-term trends of surface ozone and its influencing factors at the Mt Waliguan GAW station, China – Part 1: Overall trends and characteristics

Wanyun Xu, Weili Lin, Xiaobin Xu, Jie Tang, Jianqing Huang, Hao Wu, and Xiaochun Zhang

Abstract. Tropospheric ozone is an important atmospheric oxidant, greenhouse gas and atmospheric pollutant at the same time. The oxidation capacity of the atmosphere, climate, human and vegetation health can be impacted by the increase of the ozone level. Therefore, long-term determination of trends of baseline ozone is highly needed information for environmental and climate change assessment. So far, studies on the long-term trends of ozone at representative sites are mainly available for European and North American sites. Similar studies are lacking for China and many other developing countries. Measurements of surface ozone were carried out at a baseline Global Atmospheric Watch (GAW) station in the north-eastern Tibetan Plateau region (Mt Waliguan, 36°17′ N, 100°54′ E, 3816 m a.s.l.) for the period of 1994 to 2013. To uncover the variation characteristics, long-term trends and influencing factors of surface ozone at this remote site in western China, a two-part study has been carried out, with this part focusing on the overall characteristics of diurnal, seasonal and long-term variations and the trends of surface ozone. To obtain reliable ozone trends, we performed the Mann–Kendall trend test and the Hilbert–Huang transform (HHT) analysis on the ozone data. Our results confirm that the mountain-valley breeze plays an important role in the diurnal cycle of surface ozone at Waliguan, resulting in higher ozone values during the night and lower ones during the day, as was previously reported. Systematic diurnal and seasonal variations were found in mountain-valley breezes at the site, which were used in defining season-dependent daytime and nighttime periods for trend calculations. Significant positive trends in surface ozone were detected for both daytime (0.24 ± 0.16 ppbv year−1) and nighttime (0.28 ± 0.17 ppbv year−1). The largest nighttime increasing rate occurred in autumn (0.29 ± 0.11 ppbv year−1), followed by spring (0.24 ± 0.12 ppbv year−1), summer (0.22 ± 0.20 ppbv year−1) and winter (0.13 ± 0.10 ppbv year−1), respectively. The HHT spectral analysis identified four different stages with different positive trends, with the largest increase occurring around May 2000 and October 2010. The HHT results suggest that there were 2–4a, 7a and 11a periodicities in the time series of surface ozone at Waliguan. The results of this study can be used for assessments of climate and environment change and in the validation of chemistry–climate models.

Short summary
Long-term characteristics and trends of baseline surface ozone concentration at Waliguan station in western China for the period of 1994 to 2013 were analysed, using a modified Mann–Kendall test and the Hilbert–Huang transform analysis for the trend and periodicity analysis, respectively. Significant increasing trends were detected in all seasons, except for summer. The non-linearity caused by the interannual variation of ozone concentrations is evident, showing a 2–4-year, 7- and 11-year periodicity.
Final-revised paper