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Geostatistical Analysis and Mapping of Groundlevel Ozone in a Medium Sized Urban Area

Authors: F. J. Moral García, P. Valiente González, F. López Rodríguez


Ground-level tropospheric ozone is one of the air pollutants of most concern. It is mainly produced by photochemical processes involving nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds in the lower parts of the atmosphere. Ozone levels become particularly high in regions close to high ozone precursor emissions and during summer, when stagnant meteorological conditions with high insolation and high temperatures are common. In this work, some results of a study about urban ozone distribution patterns in the city of Badajoz, which is the largest and most industrialized city in Extremadura region (southwest Spain) are shown. Fourteen sampling campaigns, at least one per month, were carried out to measure ambient air ozone concentrations, during periods that were selected according to favourable conditions to ozone production, using an automatic portable analyzer. Later, to evaluate the ozone distribution at the city, the measured ozone data were analyzed using geostatistical techniques. Thus, first, during the exploratory analysis of data, it was revealed that they were distributed normally, which is a desirable property for the subsequent stages of the geostatistical study. Secondly, during the structural analysis of data, theoretical spherical models provided the best fit for all monthly experimental variograms. The parameters of these variograms (sill, range and nugget) revealed that the maximum distance of spatial dependence is between 302-790 m and the variable, air ozone concentration, is not evenly distributed in reduced distances. Finally, predictive ozone maps were derived for all points of the experimental study area, by use of geostatistical algorithms (kriging). High prediction accuracy was obtained in all cases as cross-validation showed. Useful information for hazard assessment was also provided when probability maps, based on kriging interpolation and kriging standard deviation, were produced.

Keywords: Kriging, map, tropospheric ozone, variogram.

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