Implications for ozone control by understanding the survivor bias in observed ozone-volatile organic compounds system

Zhenyu Wang, Zongbo Shi, Feng Wang, Weiqing Liang, Guoliang Shi*, Weichao Wang, Da Chen, Danni Liang, Yinchang Feng, Armistead G. Russell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Tropospheric ozone (O3) affects Earth’s climate and human health. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), major contributors to O3 formation, are of particular interest. Generally, the measured concentrations of VOCs (M-VOCs) and O3 show nonlinear or even opposite time serial-trend. We attributed the phenomenon to survivor bias: lack of insight of the photochemically consumed VOCs (C-VOCs) which emitted from sources to ambient and devote to forming O3, while excessive concern on the measured VOCs (M-VOCs) at observation site. Both observational and model results provide evidence that C-VOCs are the key to O3 formation. We proposed an improved model to quantify the source contributions of C-VOCs (biogenic emissions, gasoline evaporation, industry, etc.) and their impacts on the formation of O3, successfully avoiding the misidentification of dominant VOCs sources originated from the survivor bias in observational data. The survivor bias found in this study highlights that focusing of M-VOCs directly is insufficient and demonstrates the necessity of capture the sources of C-VOCs which contribute to O3 formation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number39
Number of pages9
Journalnpj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Issue number1
Early online date13 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (42077191), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (63213072), and the Blue Sky Foundation. This work is a contribution from State Environmental Protection Key Laboratory of Urban Ambient Air Particulate Matter Pollution Prevention and Control. We would like to thank Dr. Haofei Yu (University of Central Florida) for editing and linguistic assistance.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Atmospheric Science


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