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

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

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Citation

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: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0007-9F90-3
Abstract
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.