1999 Progress Report: Investigations of Factors Determining the Occurrence of Ozone and Fine Particles in Northeastern USA

EPA Grant Number: R826373
Title: Investigations of Factors Determining the Occurrence of Ozone and Fine Particles in Northeastern USA
Investigators: Philbrick, C. Russell , Allen, George , Clark, Richard , Daum, Peter , Dickerson, Russell R. , Doddridge, Bruce , Georgopoulos, Panos G. , Hatch, Victoria , Koutrakis, Petros , Lawrence, Joy , Lazaridis, M. , Lysak, Dan , Mohnen, Volker , Munger, J. W. , Newman, Leonard , Porter, Steve , Rao, S. Trivikrama , Wofsy, Steven C. , Wolfson, Jack M. , Zurbenko, Igor
Current Investigators: Philbrick, C. Russell , Allen, George , Clark, Richard , Daum, Peter , Dickerson, Russell R. , Doddridge, Bruce , Georgopoulos, Panos G. , Hatch, Victoria , Hogrefe, Christian , Kleinman, Larry , Koutrakis, Petros , Lawrence, Joy , Lazaridis, M. , Mohnen, Volker , Munger, J. W. , Porter, Steve , Rao, S. Trivikrama , Ryan, William , Wofsy, Steven C. , Wolfson, Jack M. , Zurbenko, Igor
Institution: Pennsylvania State University , Brookhaven National Laboratory , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health , Millersville University of Pennsylvania , Rutgers University - New Brunswick , The State University of New York at Albany , University of Idaho , University of Maryland - College Park
Current Institution: Pennsylvania State University , Brookhaven National Laboratory , Harvard University , Millersville University of Pennsylvania , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , The State University of New York at Albany , University of Idaho , University of Maryland
EPA Project Officer: Shapiro, Paul
Project Period: April 15, 1998 through April 14, 2003 (Extended to April 14, 2004)
Project Period Covered by this Report: April 15, 1999 through April 14, 2000
Project Amount: $3,000,000
RFA: Special Opportunity in Tropospheric Ozone (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Air


The objectives of this research project are to investigate the urban polluted environment to find the relationships and conditions leading to high ozone concentrations and increased levels of fine particles, determine the contributions from local and distant sources, examine the role that meteorological properties play in concentrating and distributing pollutant concentrations, and interpret these results within the context of past measurement programs to extend the knowledge gained to other applicable locations and atmospheric conditions.

Progress Summary:

A field site in northeast Philadelphia was established, and the initial field measurements program was conducted on August 1-22, 1998. The field measurements program was given the name NE-OPS (Northeast-Oxidant and Particle Study) and was associated with the NARSTO program to adopt the NARSTO data archiving convention for the project. The primary objective of the measurement program during summer 1998 was to develop the facilities for operation of the field site and to compare several instruments to be employed during the measurements program. However, the major air pollution episode of the summer occurred at the end of the measuring program, August 21-22, 1998, and provided an excellent data set for analysis. The measurements from the August 21-22 event clearly show the importance of transported aged materials in development of a significant pollution event. The unique set of vertical profiles obtained with lidar, tethersondes, and aircraft spirals clearly show the incursion of processed precursor materials from an aloft layer, transported into the region, and then mixed downward to the surface by the rising daytime convective boundary layer. The initiation of an ozone and particulate matter pollution event on August 21, 1998, was captured in vertical profiles of the ozone, aerosol extinction, water vapor, and other meteorological parameters. The measurements clearly show the value of time sequences of ozone and aerosol (PM) profiles in understanding the evolution of air pollution episodes. Results reveal the importance of the surface layer dynamics in determining the actual pollution hazard for the surface dwelling population. During the 2-week period of the pilot study, hazardous levels of ozone were frequently observed existing above the surface layer. The vertical transport intensity and the composition of surface layer gases that can destroy ozone cause surface exposures to differ.

The 1999 summer intensive measurements included those techniques used in the initial field program during summer of 1998, with several additional research groups and instruments. Several groups, who were not funded under the original consortium, have joined in this effort to provide additional measurements for characterization of air quality. Investigators from Brigham Young University brought instruments to measure the volatile organic contribution to the particulate matter. The activity of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) brought several additional measurements (sondes, sounders, chemistry laboratory) into the program and two additional temporary field sites that have added significant value to the activity. The efforts of Professors Steve McDow of Drexel University, Hans Hallen of NC State University, Derrek Dunn of North Carolina A&T State University, Bill Ryan (now of Pennsylvania State University), and Delbert Eataugh of Brigham Young University are highlighted here because of their contribution to the activity during 1999 by joining into the measurement and analysis efforts.

The intensive phase of the investigation began on June 28, and ended on August 18, 1999. The primary activity was conducted at our field site at the Baxter Water Treatment Plant of the City of Philadelphia located about 14 km north-northeast of city-center Philadelphia. Measurements were added by PNNL and ANL at Centerton, NJ, and West Chester, PA (south and west of Philadelphia) during the period of July 23-August 11, 1999. The summer period produced eight periods of special interest that were associated with ozone and/or PM events, which are listed in Table 1. The large range of conditions for the PM and ozone events that occurred during the 1999 summer provide a rich database for investigations of the factors effecting the evolution of air pollution events. It is worthy to note that the largest ozone event (>180 ppb) during the past 10 years was captured during one of the intensives.

Table 1. Intensive periods identified as special interest during the 1999 summer

Intensive Periods of Observation - 1999 (June 28–August 20, 1999)
# Dates Comments
1 July 3-5 PM (>65 µg/m3) and Ozone (>120 ppb) Event - UMD aircraft
2 July 8-10 PM and Ozone Event ahead of front passage
3 July 16-21 Several days of ozone end with large PM (>75 µg/m3) UMD aircraft
4 July 23-24 2-day Ozone and large PM (with sondes and sounder at added sites)
5 July 27/ August 1 Several days of moderate ozone lead into largest ozone event in 10 years, 162 ppb surface-180 ppb aloft - BNL and UMD aircraft
6 August 7-8 PM event with little ozone response
7 August 11-13 PM and ozone (125 ppb on August 12) followed by storm on night of Aug 13
8 August 15-17 Moderate PM and ozone event - new UMD Aztec aircraft

Future Activities:

The 1998 and 1999 summer measurement programs have resulted in several excellent sets of measurements, which are being analyzed. The fact that three Supersite locations have been selected in the northeast has led to the conclusion that our intensive planned for summer 2000 should be delayed to 2001 for coordination with the Supersites. A proposal for the additional funds needed to support the extension of the project will be prepared. Efforts will focus on the data analysis of the rich database obtained during summer of 1999.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 194 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, atmosphere, ozone, tropospheric species, particulates, VOC, oxidants, nitrogen oxides, sulfates, organics, modeling, monitoring, measurement methods, environmental chemistry, general circulation models, remote sensing, northeast, Atlantic coast, mid-Atlantic region, EPA Region 3., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, Environmental Chemistry, State, Environmental Monitoring, tropospheric ozone, Atmospheric Sciences, remote sensing, urban air, emission sources, ozone occurrence, Pennsylvania, ambient ozone data, ambient air, air pollution models, diurnal cycle of polluted air masses, fine particle sources, atmospheric chemical reservoirs, meteorological fluctuations, PA

Relevant Websites:

http://lidar1.ee.psu.edu Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 1998 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • Final