Nitrogen Oxides at Memorial Academy

This page last reviewed October 20, 2010


Background

Nitrogen oxides (NOx) are defined as the sum of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). NOx contributes to the formation of ozone and particulate matter pollutants, both of which are major air pollutants.

Most NOx emissions are produced when nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2) in the air react during the high-temperature combustion of fuels. On-road motor vehicles and other mobile sources currently contribute approximately 80% of (man-made) NOx emissions in California. Industrial sources contribute approximately 17% of anthropogenic NOx emissions. Significant natural sources of NOx emissions include lightning, biomass burning, and soil biological activities.

NOx emissions from on-road motor vehicles have declined by over 30% from 1990 to 2000 and are projected to decrease by an additional 40% between 2000 to 2010, due to stringent emission standards on motor vehicles and the introduction of a cleaner burning process of fuels. Emissions from industrial sources have also decreased, largely due to a switch from fuel oil to natural gas and the implementation of combustion controls.

No standards have been established for the total NOx concentration. National and California standards for NO2 are:

State NO2 Standards:
250 ppb* for 1 hour average
National NO2 Standards:
53 ppb for annual arithmetic mean concentration

*ppb means parts per billion.

Ambient Monitoring Results

Ambient levels of NOx are routinely monitored hourly at approximately 120 sites in the California ambient air quality measurement network. Based on the standards, daily maximum of 1-hour NOx measurements is a useful parameter to indicate the NOx levels. During year 1998 through 2000, the statewide average concentration of daily maximum of 1-hour NOx measurements was 84 ppb (parts per billion). Relative to the statewide average, the San Diego region was 2% higher for the same time period.

The ambient monitoring results at Memorial Academy are provided here:

  • A graph comparing the monthly summaries of NOx at Memorial Academy with historical statewide and regional levels
  • A table of summary statistics
  • Raw data in Excel format

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