Regional Air Quality: Photochemical Modeling for Policy Development and Regulatory Support

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Bergin, Michelle Silvagni
Russell, Armistead G.
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Two long-standing air quality challenges in the United States are the control of tropospheric ozone and particulate matter, both of which are responsible for widespread damage to human health and the environment. This thesis presents three modeling applications in support of policy development and regulatory actions for control of these pollutants in the eastern United States, taking advantage of recent advancements in sensitivity techniques in a regional Eulerian photochemical air quality model. A broad evaluation of regional atmospheric pollution and transboundary air quality management, including the international scale, and an analysis of successful transboundary management efforts are also presented. The first modeling application is an evaluation of local and interstate impacts on ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) from ground-level and elevated nitrogen oxide plus nitrogen dioxide and from sulfur dioxide emissions from individual states. This analysis identifies states responsible for a significant amount of regional secondary pollution, and states which do not have independent control over much of their pollution concentrations. An average of approximately 77% of each state s ozone and PM2.5 concentrations that are sensitive to the emissions evaluated are found to be formed from emissions from other states. The second application is an assessment of impacts from emissions from a single power-plant on resulting regional ozone concentrations. Three sensitivity techniques and two 3D photochemical models are applied. Ozone increases greater than 0.5 ppbv are found over eight states downwind from the power-plant. The third application supports the extension of a body of research aimed at advancing understanding of the ozone formation potential, or reactivity , of VOCs for use in regional-scale, rather than urban-scale, regulations. Air quality impacts of VOCs emissions from solvent use and manufacture are presented, scientific barriers to accounting for reactivity in regulations are discussed, current and upcoming regulatory applications are described, and results from a regional scale evaluation of reactivity quantification are presented.
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