Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 7503-7552, 2013
www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/13/7503/2013/
doi:10.5194/acpd-13-7503-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in ACP.
Ozone photochemistry in an oil and natural gas extraction region during winter: simulations of a snow-free season in the Uintah Basin, Utah
P. M. Edwards1,2, C. J. Young1,*, K. Aikin1,2, J. A. deGouw1,2, W. P. Dubé1,2, F. Geiger3, J. B. Gilman1,2, D. Helmig4, J. S. Holloway1,2, J. Kercher5, B. Lerner1,2, R. Martin6, R. McLaren7, D. D. Parrish1, J. Peischl1,2, J. M. Roberts1, T. B. Ryerson1, J. Thornton8, C. Warneke1,2, E. J. Williams1, and S. S. Brown1
1NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory, R/CSD7, 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO, USA
2Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA
3Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, IMK-ASF, Karlsruhe, Germany
4Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colorado, CO, USA
5Chemistry Department, Hiram College, Hiram, OH, USA
6Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Utah State University, UT, USA
7Centre for Atmospheric Chemistry, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
8Department of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
*now at: Department of Chemistry, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, Canada

Abstract. The Uintah Basin in northeastern Utah, a region of intense oil and gas extraction, experienced ozone (O3) concentrations above levels harmful to human health for multiple days during the winters of 2009–2010 and 2010–2011. These wintertime O3 pollution episodes occur during cold, stable periods when the ground is snowcovered, and have been linked to emissions from the oil and gas extraction process. The Uintah Basin Winter Ozone Study (UBWOS) was a field intensive in early 2012, whose goal was to address current uncertainties in the chemical and physical processes that drive wintertime O3 production in regions of oil and gas development. Although elevated O3 concentrations were not observed during the winter of 2011–2012, the comprehensive set of observations tests of our understanding of O3 photochemistry in this unusual emissions environment. A box model, constrained to the observations and using the explicit Master Chemical Mechanism (MCM) V3.2 chemistry scheme, has been used to investigate the sensitivities of O3 production during UBWOS 2012. Simulations identify the O3 production photochemistry to be highly radical limited. Production of OH from O3 photolysis (through reaction of O(1D) with water vapor) contributed only 170 pptv day−1, 8% of the total primary radical source on average. Other radical sources, including the photolysis of formaldehyde (HCHO, 52%), nitrous acid (HONO, 26%), and nitryl chloride (ClNO2, 13%) were larger. O3 production was also found to be highly sensitive to aromatic volatile organic compound (VOC) concentrations, due to radical amplification reactions in the oxidation scheme of these species. Radical production was shown to be small in comparison to the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx), such that NOx acted as the primary radical sink. Consequently, the system was highly VOC sensitive, despite the much larger mixing ratio of total non-methane hydrocarbons (230 ppbv (2080 ppbC), 6 week average) relative to NOx (5.6 ppbv average). However, the importance of radical sources which are themselves derived from NOx emissions and chemistry, such as ClNO2 and HONO, make the response of the system to changes in NOx emissions uncertain. These box model simulations provide useful insight into the chemistry controlling winter O3 production in regions of oil and gas extraction.

Citation: Edwards, P. M., Young, C. J., Aikin, K., deGouw, J. A., Dubé, W. P., Geiger, F., Gilman, J. B., Helmig, D., Holloway, J. S., Kercher, J., Lerner, B., Martin, R., McLaren, R., Parrish, D. D., Peischl, J., Roberts, J. M., Ryerson, T. B., Thornton, J., Warneke, C., Williams, E. J., and Brown, S. S.: Ozone photochemistry in an oil and natural gas extraction region during winter: simulations of a snow-free season in the Uintah Basin, Utah, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 13, 7503-7552, doi:10.5194/acpd-13-7503-2013, 2013.
 
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