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Understanding High Wintertime Ozone Pollution Events in an Oil and Natural Gas Producing Region of the Western US : Volume 14, Issue 14 (08/08/2014)

By Ahmadov, R.

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Book Id: WPLBN0003987594
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 49
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: Understanding High Wintertime Ozone Pollution Events in an Oil and Natural Gas Producing Region of the Western US : Volume 14, Issue 14 (08/08/2014)  
Author: Ahmadov, R.
Volume: Vol. 14, Issue 14
Language: English
Subject: Science, Atmospheric, Chemistry
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Trainer, M., Banta, R., Mckeen, S., Edwards, P. M., Olson, J., Koss, A.,...Yuan, B. (2014). Understanding High Wintertime Ozone Pollution Events in an Oil and Natural Gas Producing Region of the Western US : Volume 14, Issue 14 (08/08/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA. Recent increases in oil and natural gas (NG) production throughout the western US have come with scientific and public interest in emission rates, air quality and climate impacts related to this industry. This study uses a regional scale air quality model WRF-Chem to simulate high ozone (O3) episodes during the winter of 2013 over the Uinta Basin (UB) in northeastern Utah, which is densely populated by thousands of oil and NG wells. The high resolution meteorological simulations are able to qualitatively reproduce the wintertime cold pool conditions that occurred in 2013, allowing the model to reproduce the observed multi-day buildup of atmospheric pollutants and accompanying rapid photochemical ozone formation in the UB. <br><br> Two different emission scenarios for the oil and NG sector were employed in this study. The first emission scenario (bottom-up) was based on the US EPA National Emission Inventory (NEI) (2011, version 1) for the oil and NG sector for the UB. The second emission scenario (top-down) was based on the previously derived estimates of methane (CH4) emissions and a regression analysis for multiple species relative to CH4 concentration measurements in the UB. WRF-Chem simulations using the two emission data sets resulted in significant differences for concentrations of most gas-phase species. Evaluation of the model results shows greater underestimates of CH4 and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the simulation with the NEI-2011 inventory than the case when the top-down emission scenario was used. Unlike VOCs, the NEI-2011 inventory significantly overestimates the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), while the top-down emission scenario results in a moderate negative bias. Comparison of simulations using the two emission data sets reveals that the top-down case captures the high O3 episodes. In contrast, the simulation case using the bottom-up inventory is not able to reproduce any of the observed high O3 concentrations in the UB. A sensitivity analysis reveals that the major factors driving high wintertime O3 in the UB are shallow boundary layers with light winds, high emissions of VOCs from oil and NG operations compared to NOx emissions, enhancement of photolysis fluxes and reduction of O3 loss from deposition due to snow cover. Simple emission reduction scenarios show that the UB O3 production is VOC sensitive and NOx insensitive. The model results show a disproportionate contribution of aromatic VOCs to O3 formation relative to all other VOC emissions. We also present modeling results for winter of 2012, when high O3 levels were not observed in the UB. The air quality model together with the top-down emission framework presented here may help to address the emerging science and policy related questions surrounding the environmental impact of oil and NG drilling in western US.

Understanding high wintertime ozone pollution events in an oil and natural gas producing region of the western US

Ahmadov, R., McKeen, S. A., Robinson, A. L., Bahreini, R., Middlebrook, A. M., de Gouw, J. A., Meagher, J., Hsie, E. Y., Edgerton, E., Shaw, S., and Trainer, M.: A volatility basis set model for summertime secondary organic aerosols over the eastern United States in 2006, J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos., 117, D06301, doi:10.1029/2011jd016831, 2012.; Alvarez, R. A., Pacala, S. W., Winebrake, J. J., Chameides, W. L., and Hamburg, S. P.: Greater focus needed on methane leakage from natural gas infrastructure, P. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 109, 6435–6440, doi:10.1073/pnas.1202407109, 2012.; Anenberg, S. C., Horowitz, L. W., Tong, D. Q., and West, J. J.: An estimate of the global burden of anthropogenic ozone and fine particulate matter on premature human mortality using atmospheric modeling, Environ. Health Persp., 118, 1189–1195, doi:10.1289/ehp.0901220, 2010.; Baker, K. R., Simon, H., and Kelly, J. T.: Challenges to modeling Cold Pool meteorology associated with high pollution episodes, Environ. Sci. Technol., 45, 7118–7119, doi:10.1021/es202705v, 2011.; Banta, R. and Cotton, W. R.: An analysis of the structure of local wind systems in a broad mountain basin, J. Appl. Meteorol., 20, 1255–1266,;2>doi:10.1175/1520-0450(1981)020<1255:aaotso>;2, 1981.; Banta, R. M., Senff, C. J., Alvarez, R. J., Langford, A. O., Parrish, D. D., Trainer, M. K., Darby, L. S., Hardesty, R. M., Lambeth, B., Neuman, J. A., Angevine, W. M., Nielsen-Gammon, J., Sandberg, S. P., and White, A. B.: Dependence of daily peak O3 concentrations near Houston, Texas on environmental factors: wind speed, temperature, and boundary-layer depth, Atmos. Environ., 45, 162–173, doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2010.09.030, 2011.; Brandt, A. R., Heath, G. A., Kort, E. A., O'Sullivan, F., Pétron, G., Jordaan, S. M., Tans, P., Wilcox, J., Gopstein, A. M., Arent, D., Wofsy, S., Brown, N. J., Bradley, R., Stucky, G. D., Eardley, D., and Harriss, R.: Methane leaks from North American natural gas systems, Science, 343, 733–735, doi:10.1126/science.1247045, 2014.; Brioude, J., Angevine, W. M., Ahmadov, R., Kim, S.-W., Evan, S., McKeen, S. A., Hsie, E.-Y., Frost, G. J., Neuman, J. A., Pollack, I. B., Peischl, J., Ryerson, T. B., Holloway, J., Brown, S. S., Nowak, J. B., Roberts, J. M., Wofsy, S. C., Santoni, G. W., Oda, T., and Trainer, M.: Top-down estimate of surface flux in the Los Angeles Basin using a mesoscale inverse modeling technique: assessing anthropogenic emissions of CO, NOx and CO2 and their impacts, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 3661–3677, doi:10.5194/acp-13-3661-2013, 2013.; Brown, S. S., Neuman, J. A., Ryerson, T. B., Trainer, M., Dube, W. P., Holloway, J. S., Warneke, C., de Gouw, J. A., Donnelly, S. G., Atlas, E., Matthew, B., Middlebrook, A. M., Peltier, R., Weber, R. J., Stohl, A., Meagher, J. F., Fehsenfeld, F. C., and Ravishankara, A. R.: Nocturnal odd-oxygen budget and its implications for ozone loss in the lower troposphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L08801, doi:10.1029/2006gl025900, 2006.; Carlton, A. G., Little, E., Moeller, M., Odoyo, S., and Shepson, P. B.: The Data Gap: can a Lack of monitors obscure loss of clean air act benefits in fracking areas?, Environ. Sci. Technol., 48, 893–894, doi:10.1021/es405672t, 2014.; Carter, W. P. L. and Se


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