Publication Date

December 2010


Since the summer of 2004, over 300 ozonesondes have been launched from Rice University (29.7 N, 95.4 W) or the University of Houston (29.7 N, 95.3 W), each < 5 km from downtown Houston. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality maintains a large database of hourly surface ozone observations in Southeast Texas. In this study, we identify the contributions to surface ozone pollution levels from natural and anthropogenic sources, both local and remote in nature. This source identification is performed two ways: 1) through an analysis of sonde data, including ozone concentrations, wind speed and direction, and relative humidity data, and 2) through an analysis that combines trajectory calculations with surface monitor data. We also examine regional changes in Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) measurements of formaldehyde and ozone from 2004 – 2010. In particular, we compare the 2010 sonde, surface monitor, and satellite data after the Deepwater Horizon accident with data from previous years to determine the impact, if any, of the large source of hydrocarbons in the Gulf of Mexico on air quality in Southeast Texas.