Ozone trends over the United States at different times of day
Abstract. In the United States, the decline of summertime daytime peak ozone in the last 20 years has been clearly connected to reductions in anthropogenic emissions. However, questions remain about how and through what mechanisms ozone at other times of day have changed over recent decades. Here we analyze the interannual variability and trends of ozone at different hours of day, using observations from about 1000 US sites during 1990–2014. We find a clear diurnal cycle both in the magnitude of ozone trends and in the relative importance of climate variability versus anthropogenic emissions to ozone changes. Interannual climate variability has mainly been associated with the detrended fluctuation in the US annual daytime ozone over 1990–2014, with a much smaller effect on the nighttime ozone. Reductions in anthropogenic emissions of nitrogen oxides have led to substantial growth in the US annual average nighttime ozone due to reduced ozone titration, while the summertime daytime ozone has declined. Environmental policymaking might consider further improvements to reduce ozone levels at night and other non-peak hours.