Changes in the surface ozone after the windstorm in 2004, in the High Tatras
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Extreme wind event in November 2004 caused spacious destruction of slope forests in the Tatra National Park, Slovakia. Relevant changes of land cover motivated researchers to investigate damaged forest ecosystem and its response to different environmental conditions. Surface ozone (O3) is a minor but not negligible compound of the ambient air. Control strategies for the reduction of O3 precursor emissions have been applied in Europe during the last two decades. In spite of these reductions, air quality indices for O3 suggest that highland sites are more vulnerable to health and environmental risk than lowlands where mostly emissions from road transport and industry are produced. Both anthropogenic sources and biogenic precursors (BVOC) from forest vegetation play a relevant role in the tropospheric photochemistry, especially at mountainous and rural locations. The parameters of air quality are measured at background station Stará Lesná in the High Tatras region since 1992 in frame of an European project EMEP. Long-term data series (1992–2013) of O3 concentrations obtained for site Stará Lesná provide specific opportunity to investigate the response of BVOC reduction on O3 variability after windstorm 2004. Evaluation of these data indicates moderate increase of annual, monthly and hourly O3 means for the period from 2005 to 2013 in comparison with the previous period 1992–2004. Temporal interpolation shows evident changes of O3 concentrations, especially ~30% increase for night hours in spring season and on the contrary ~15% decrease for daylight afternoon hours in summer season. Statistically significant changes were identified for spring months (April and May, 0–6 hours) and summer months (July, 12–20 hours). Increasing O3 values in the night may be associated with the absence of BVOC for ozonolysis reaction that is one of the mechanism for O3 depletion. On the other hand, the decline of daylight O3 values in summer suggests lower O3 production via photochemical mechanism.
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