The purpose of this site is to provide information regarding a
dangerous air pollutant on Long island: Ground Level Ozone.
A workshop on Ground Level Ozone was held on March 7,
2009 at Stony Brook University. Links to the PowerPoint
presentation can be found at the Workshops page.
The American Lung Association (2008) gives Suffolk County on
Long Island an F, as in Failing, for the periods of high
concentrations of ground level ozone in its air. Even at low
levels ozone can reduce lung function; cause acute respiratory
problems; aggravate asthma; cause inflammation of lung
tissue; and increase susceptibility to respiratory infection.
People begin feeling the effects of ozone at levels greater than
50 parts per billion (ppb).
Ground level ozone is also dangerous to plants. Increased
levels of zone result in foliar injury and reduced growth in plants.
This results in reduced crop yields and forest production. Plants
can be affected at levels of 40 ppb and serious damage can
occur at levels greater than 80 ppb.
Ground level ozone is directly related to motor vehicle exhaust.
It is created when sunlight on a hot sunny day interacts with
organic compounds and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere
forming smog and ozone. Often the highest concentrations of
ground level ozone are downwind of metropolitan areas, such
as Suffolk County, where natural organic compounds from
forested areas react with the nitrogen oxides.
Newsday Article "Breathing Easy on Long Island"
Photo of sweet gum leaves on Stony
Brook University campus showing
stippling caused by ground level
ozone. Note leaf on upper right. The
green area on the leaf was originally
behind the leaf in the center of the
photo. Photo taken in August 2008.
Site maintained by
Gilbert N. Hanson
Department of Geosciences
Stony Brook University