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Researchers surprised by levels of harmful ozone found in northern Colorado mountains

  • Colorado Ozone-1.jpg

    FILE-This July 15, 2014 file photo shows a custom-fitted research C-130 sits in a hanger being prepared for research flights, at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, in Broomfield, Colo. An intensive campaign to measure air pollution along Colorado's northern Front Range will produce a wealth of data to help identify the sources and levels of harmful ozone, researchers said Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley,File) (The Associated Press)

  • Colorado Ozone-2.jpg

    FILE- This July 15, 2014 file photo shows, right to left, Lee Mauldin and Anondo Mukherjee, of the University of Colorado's Department of Atmospheric and Oceanographic Research, installing a device which measures sulphuric acid and other elements when airborne on a specially-fitted research C-130, at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport, in Broomfield, Colo. An intensive campaign to measure air pollution along Colorado's northern Front Range will produce a wealth of data to help identify the sources and levels of harmful ozone, researchers said Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley,File) (The Associated Press)

Researchers say they're surprised by how much harmful ozone and ozone-causing chemicals are drifting into the Colorado mountains from urban and rural areas below.

Scientists from the National Center for Atmospheric Research and NASA say an intensive examination of pollution along the populated northern Front Range found ozone all the way up to the mountainous Continental Divide.

They say mountain ozone levels were similar to or greater than levels at lower elevations in some cases.

Researchers gathered data from aircraft, balloons and ground stations from the Denver area to Fort Collins, about 60 miles away, from mid-July through last week.

The scientists stressed they are in the early stages of reviewing the data and were hesitant to offer many specifics. They expect to start making data public by the end of the year.