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Volume 7, Pages 67-77
Short Communication

Ozone in Spain's National Parks and Protected Forests

1Fundación C.E.A.M., Charles R. Darwin 14, Parc Tecnològic, 46980 Paterna, Valencia, Spain
2Servicio de Protección contra los Agentes Nocivos, DGB, MIMAM, Gran Vía San Francisco 4, Madrid, Spain

Received 16 October 2006; Revised 30 November 2006; Accepted 30 November 2006

Academic Editor: Andrzej Bytnerowicz

Copyright © 2007 Mar?a J. Sanz et al.


In general, it is difficult to measure air pollutant concentrations in remote areas, as they are mostly national parks and protected areas. Passive samplers provide an accurate and inexpensive method for measuring cumulative exposures of different air pollutants. They have been used to collect ozone data in both laboratory and field at different geographical scales. The objective of the present study is to fill the knowledge gap regarding air quality in remote areas of Spain, such as national parks and protected areas. Because there were no systematic data sets on the main air pollutants that could affect these areas, an air quality measurement network was established between 2001 and 2004 on 19 locations inside Spanish national parks and protected areas. The data collected suggest that ozone levels in mountainous areas are high enough to affect sensitive vegetation. Most of the locations registered moderate-to-high ozone levels, with important interannual variability. Altitudinal ozone gradients were observed in most of the parks with complex topography due to the establishment of local circulations that incorporate polluted air masses from polluted airsheds or even long-range transport (i.e., Canary Islands). Different latitude-dependent, yearly cycles were also observed, showing two, one, or no clear peaks depending on the region. These findings extend to the most southerly locations, except in the Canary Islands, where pollution transported from other regions in the upper transport layers probably led to the high concentrations observed.