Ozone over the Western Mediterranean Sea – results from two years of shipborne measurements
Ozone, along with other air pollutants, has been measured for two years from a monitoring station placed on a cruise ship that follows a regular track in the Western Mediterranean between April and October. Conditions favouring high ozone levels have been studied by analysis of weather maps and back trajectories. This analysis was focused on a transect over the open sea in the South Western Mediterranean between Tunis and Palma de Mallorca. High ozone levels were found in situations with an anticyclonic circulation over the Western Mediterranean when subsidence brings air masses down from altitudes between 1000 and 3500 m a.s.l. Analysis of composite meteorological maps suggests a relevant contribution of breeze circulation to subsidence during events with high surface ozone concentrations; this points to an important contribution from local ozone formation. A detailed back trajectory analysis of the origin of air masses with high ozone concentrations was carried out for two "hot spots" for ozone pollution, in the Gulf of Genoa and between Naples and Palermo, respectively. The main cause of high ozone levels in the Gulf of Genoa was found to be outflow from the Po Valley and the Genoa area while such episodes along the Naples-Palermo transect were most often associated with trajectories from the Rome or Naples areas. Analysis of the relationship between measured concentrations of Black Carbon and ozone allowed to evaluate the degree of photochemical "ageing" of the air masses encountered along the route of the cruise ship.