Natural background ozone levels were monitored in three places within the greater rural area of Corinth, namely Bogdani Hill, Astronomical Observatory of Krionerion, and Kiato, and compared with ambient ozone monitored in the metropolitan area of Athens. Measurements were made sequentially, for a few weeks at each place, during the summer of 2000. In addition, ozone phytodetection, using tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) plants of the Bel-W3 and Zichnomirodata varieties, was conducted in 12 places (the above included). Moreover, stomatal conductance was measured in the Bel-W3 plants, as well as in leaves of cultivated grape-vines (Vitis vinifera L.) and in needles of Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis Mill.) trees and compared with the diurnal pattern of ozone concentrations.
The 24 and 12 (08:00–20:00) hourly averages of ozone concentrations were high in Athens (37; 51 ppb), at Bogdani Hill (53; 56 ppb) and at the Astronomical Observatory (56; 55 ppb), but relatively low in Kiato (30; 34 ppb). Furthermore, the average daily AOT40 (accumulated exposure over 40 ppb for the daylight hours) (ppb h) was 193 in Athens, 212 at Bogdani Hill, 192 at the Astronomical Observatory and 47 in Kiato. Ozone concentrations exhibited the usual diurnal pattern in Athens (altitude 50 m), where they were maximum during midday and early afternoon hours, as well as at Bogdani Hill (300 m) and in Kiato (5 m) where, however, they were maximal 1–3 h later. At the Astronomical Observatory (altitude 920 m) ozone remained constant during both daylight and night hours. The differences in diurnal patterns are consistent with those in places of different elevation, reported elsewhere.
The Bel-W3 plants were injured at all 12 places; Zichnomirodata plants exhibited lower injury and only in some of the places; probable ozone symptoms were also observed on vine plants and pine trees. The greatest injury was observed at the high altitude places of Astronomical Observatory and Mougostos. Stomatal conductance, in all three species, peaked during morning and early midday hours when ozone levels were higher in the high altitude, and lower in the low altitude, places.