Implications of Sea Breezes on Air Quality Monitoring in a Coastal Urban Environment: Evidence From High Resolution Modeling of NO2 and O3 Journal Article uri icon



  • AbstractCoastal urban environments face unique challenges associated with air quality‐meteorology interactions. In this study, high resolution chemical transport modeling over the Greater Boston area was performed to improve our understanding of sea breezes impacts on the spatiotemporal variability of primary and secondary pollutants. We perform WRF‐Chem simulations at 3 km resolution over June 22 to 10 July 2019 (a period that included 10 sea breeze occurrences), and use Pandora tropospheric NO2 column, surface air quality monitoring, and vertical meteorological aircraft profiles for evaluation. The model generally reproduces observed spatiotemporal variability of air pollution during sea breezes well. Tropospheric columns of NO2 predicted by the model and observed by the Pandora instrument show that sea breezes are associated with rapid increases and steep gradients in tropospheric NO2 and confirm accumulation of local primary emissions. Spatial heterogeneity in tropospheric NO2 is strongly governed by inland penetration lengths of the sea breeze front. Process diagnostics show that three sea‐breeze days where O3 observations recorded hourly concentrations >70 ppb have both efficient net chemical O3 production in the boundary layer (>10 ppb/hr) and rapid O3 convergence in the near‐surface convergence zone (>20 ppb/hr). During sea breezes, interactions between photochemistry, the convergence zone inland penetration, and urban NOx titration effects, contribute to strong heterogeneity and high O3 inland that is not captured by the current monitoring network. We discuss monitoring needs and model applications for the sea breeze scenarios, with broad implications for air quality monitoring in coastal urban environments.

publication date

  • June 16, 2023

has restriction

  • green

Date in CU Experts

  • May 30, 2023 9:03 AM

Full Author List

  • Wang B; Geddes JA; Adams TJ; Lind ES; McDonald BC; He J; Harkins C; Li D; Pfister GG

author count

  • 9

Other Profiles

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2169-897X

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2169-8996

Additional Document Info


  • 128


  • 11