Ph.D. Student Lei Liu Addresses Houston-Area Atmospheric Scientists
Presentation to Gulf Coast Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences graduate student Lei Liu made a keynote presentation before the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association on November 10.
Liu is a Ph.D. student of Professor Robert Talbot. She studied ozone in Houston for part of her dissertation work, and in particular, what role meteorology may be playing in reducing ozone exceedances, or “ozone action days,” in the Houston area. These annual ozone action days have now reached the single digits for present-day Houston and are down several times those amounts during the 1990s and early 2000s.
Her study linked reduced ozone exceedances with the increasing strength of the sea breeze in Houston. The enhanced sea breeze is caused by increasing land temperatures due to climate change and global warming. Liu showed that the sea breeze influence on Houston has increased by a factor 2.5 since 1990. This finding means that relatively cleaner air in a southerly flow off the Gulf of Mexico is infiltrating metropolitan Houston more frequently and diluting ozone precursors. This, together with reduced emissions, has created a cleaner and healthier Houston atmosphere; one positive benefit of global warming. These patterns should be a general result worldwide.