Daily, weekly, and seasonal patterns of O3, NOx and VOCs and their relationship to meteorological conditions were studied in a semi-urban site near Barcelona by means of five-day long campaigns that included weekend and labor days in December, March, June, and October. The plant protection thresholds for ozone and NO2 were exceeded, respectively, on all the studied days in summer and on all the studied days. Ozone formation was predominantly local and relied on photochemical processes with VOCs playing a controlling role. Formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, methanol, toluene, isoprene, and acetone (in this order) presented the highest O3 formation potential during the studied periods. These results highlight the important role in O3 formation played by VOC species such as acetaldehyde, methanol, and acetone, that all have a significant biogenic component. Thus, these VOCs must be taken into account in the discussion of any ozone abatement strategy. © Springer Science+Business Media, B.V. 2006.