Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-164
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-2019-164

  19 Mar 2019

19 Mar 2019

Review status: this preprint was under review for the journal ACP but the revision was not accepted.

Decadal Trends and Variability in Intermountain West Surface Ozone near Oil and Gas Extraction Fields

Ying Zhou1, Huiting Mao1, and Barkley C. Sive2 Ying Zhou et al.
  • 1Department of Chemistry, State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY, 13210, USA
  • 2National Park Service, Air Resources Division, Lakewood, CO 80225, USA

Abstract. Decadal trends in the annual fourth-highest daily maximum 8-hour average (A4DM8HA) ozone (O3) were studied over 2005–2015 for 13 rural/remote sites in the U.S. Intermountain West. No trends were observed in A4DM8HA O3 at two reference sites, which are located upwind of and thus minimally influenced by emissions from oil and natural gas (O&NG) basins. Trends, or a lack thereof, varied widely at other 11 sites in/near O&NG basins resulting from different controlling factors rather than a simplistic, uniform one. The decreasing trends at Mesa Verde (−0.76 ppbv/yr) and Canyonlands National Park (−0.54 ppbv/yr) were attributed to a 37 % decrease in natural gas production in the San Juan Basin and 35 % emission reductions in coal-fired electricity generation, respectively. The decreasing trend (−1.21 ppbv/yr) at Wind Cave National Park resulted from reduced solar radiation due to increasingly frequent precipitation weather. The lack of trends at remaining sites was likely caused by the increasing O&NG emissions and decreasing emissions from other activities. Wintertime O3 stagnant events were associated with the Arctic Oscillation (AO). Box model simulations suggested that both volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides emission reductions during negative AO years while VOC emission reductions alone in positive AO years could effectively mitigate high wintertime O3 within the O&NG basins. Our findings suggest that emissions from O&NG extraction likely played a significant role in shaping long-term trends in surface O3 near/within O&NG basins and hence warrant consideration in the design of efficient O3 mitigation strategies for the Intermountain West.

Ying Zhou et al.

 
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Status: closed
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Ying Zhou et al.

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Short summary
Ozone is a detrimental air pollutant affecting the public health. Elevated ozone episodes have been reported in oil and natural gas basins. However, there have not any studies investigating the long term impact of expanded oil and gas extraction activities on ozone. Our study suggests that emissions from oil and gas extraction have likely played a significant role in shaping decadal trends in ozone design values in the Intermountain West. The findings of this study are highly policy relevant.
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