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Journal Article

Impact of US Oil and Natural Gas Emission Increases on Surface Ozone Is Most Pronounced in the Central United States


Pozzer,  Andrea
Atmospheric Chemistry, Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Pozzer, A., Schultz, M. G., & Helmig, D. (2020). Impact of US Oil and Natural Gas Emission Increases on Surface Ozone Is Most Pronounced in the Central United States. Environmental Science & Technology, 54(19), 12423-12433. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b06983.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-9F90-3
Observations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from a surface sampling network and simulation results from the EMAC (ECHAM5/MESSy for Atmospheric Chemistry) model were analyzed to assess the impact of increased emissions of VOCs and nitrogen oxides from U.S. oil and natural gas (O&NG) sources on air quality. In the first step, the VOC observations were used to optimize the magnitude and distribution of atmospheric ethane and higher-alkane VOC emissions in the model inventory for the base year 2009. Observation-based increases of the emissions of VOCs and NOx stemming from U.S. oil and natural gas (O&NG) sources during 2009–2014 were then added to the model, and a set of sensitivity runs was conducted for assessing the influence of the increased emissions on summer surface ozone levels. For the year 2014, the added O&NG emissions are predicted to affect surface ozone across a large geographical scale in the United States. These emissions are responsible for an increased number of days when the averaged 8-h ozone values exceed 70 ppb, with the highest sensitivity being in the central and midwestern United States, where most of the O&NG growth has occurred. These findings demonstrate that O&NG emissions significantly affect the air quality across most of the United States, can regionally offset reductions of ozone precursor emissions made in other sectors, and can have a determining influence on a region’s ability to meet National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) obligations for ozone.