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Ozone (O3) is a powerful oxidizer (e.g. reacting with oxygen). Ozone in the upper atmosphere is considered beneficial due to the ability of the compound to filter harmful UV rays generated from the sun. However, ground level concentrations of ozone influence animal and plant health. In animals, one symptom of ground level ozone is lung tissue damage resulting in respiratory complications. Excess ozone in plants can cause excessive water loss; thus, emulate drought conditions. Ozone simulates the stomata cell in plant leaves so that these cells do not function properly. That is the stomata cells do not close completely, resulting in excess water loss (Smith et al. 2008). Anthropogenic ozone can be created via internal combustion engines and coal fired power plants.
Collecting data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) CASTnet site for the time periods 1990 to 2010 I use spatial interpolation techniques to create an ozone surface concentration for the contiguous United States.