In the frame of a European research project on air quality in urban agglomerations, data on ozone concentrations from 23 automated urban and suburban monitoring stations in 11 cities from seven countries were analysed and evaluated. Daily and summer mean and maximum concentrations were computed based on hourly mean values, and cumulative ozone exposure indices (Accumulated exposure Over a Threshold of 40 ppb (AOT40), AOT20) were calculated. The diurnal profiles showed a characteristic pattern in most city centres, with minimum values in the early morning hours, a strong rise during the morning, peak concentrations in the afternoon, and a decline during the night. The widest amplitudes between minimum and maximum values were found in central and southern European cities such as Düsseldorf, Verona, Klagenfurt, Lyon or Barcelona. In the northern European cities of Edinburgh and Copenhagen, by contrast, maximum values were lower and diurnal variation was much smaller. Based on ozone concentrations as well as on cumulative exposure indices, a clear north-south gradient in ozone pollution, with increasing levels from northern and northwestern sites to central and southern European sites, was observed. Only the Spanish cities did not fit this pattern; there, ozone levels were again lower than in central European cities, probably due to the direct influence of strong car traffic emissions. In general, ozone concentrations and cumulative exposure were significantly higher at suburban sites than at urban and traffic-exposed sites. When applying the newly established European Union (EU) Directive on ozone pollution in ambient air, it was demonstrated that the target value for the protection of human health was regularly surpassed at urban as well as suburban sites, particularly in cities in Austria, France, northern Italy and southern Germany. European target values and long-term objectives for the protection of vegetation expressed as AOT40 were also exceeded at many monitoring sites.
Atmospheric Environment, 2006, Vol 40, Issue 40, p. 7963-7974