We quantified the distribution of tropospheric ozone in topographically complex western Washington state, USA (total area a??6000 km2), using passive ozone samplers along nine river drainages to measure ozone exposure from near sea level to high-elevation mountain sites. Weekly average ozone concentrations were higher with increasing distance from the urban core and at higher elevations, increasing a mean of 1.3 ppbv per 100 m elevation gain for all mountain transects. Weekly average ozone concentrations were generally highest in Cascade Mountains drainages east and southeast of Seattle (maximum=55a??67 pbv) and in the Columbia River Gorge east of Portland (maximum=59 ppbv), and lowest in the western Olympic Peninsula (maximum=34 ppbv). Higher ozone concentrations in the Cascade Mountains and Columbia River locations downwind of large cities indicate that significant quantities of ozone and ozone precursors are being transported eastward toward rural wildland areas by prevailing westerly winds. In addition, temporal (week to week) variation in ozone distribution is synchronous within and between all drainages sampled, which indicates that there is regional coherence in air pollution detectable with weekly averages. These data provide insight on large-scale spatial variation of ozone distribution in western Washington, and will help regulatory agencies optimize future monitoring networks and identify locations where human health and natural resources could be at risk.
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Spatial distribution of tropospheric ozone in western Washington, USA