Summertime photochemical air pollution episodes within the United Kingdom have been proposed via modelling studies to be strongly influenced by regional scale inflow of air from the continental European boundary layer. We present a vertically resolved case study using measurements made from the NERC/Met Office BAe 146 research aircraft on 18th August 2005 over the South East of England and the North Sea during a weak anticyclone centred over Northern Europe. The vertical distribution of ozone, CO, NOx, peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN) and a wide range of both nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and oxygenated volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) were determined between 500 ft (∼152 m) and 7000 ft (∼2134 m) over the East Anglia coastline and 50 km inland. In excess of 80 ppbV ozone was observed within inflowing boundary layer air over the North Sea coast in a broad N–S sloping feature around 60 km wide. The inflowing feature of European origin was also observed further inland within the boundary layer albeit with lower, more variable, ozone mixing ratios. The increased variability in ozone over land was a product of titration by fresh surface emissions of NO via rapid upward transport in thermals, a hypothesis supported by the observed vertical wind speed component. Fast boundary layer mixing over land was further illustrated by a uniform distribution in reactive alkenes. A comparison between aircraft and surface O3 UK AUN (Automatic Urban Network) measurements showed good agreement with the inland site, Sibton, but marked differences with the coastal monitoring site at Weybourne, potentially due to gradients established by ocean deposition in stably stratified marine air.
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