Houston, Texas - Urban air quality studies

Urban zones represent areas in which significant amounts of gaseous pollutants and particulate matter are released into the atmosphere. The Houston-Galveston Brazoria Area (HGB), located close to the Gulf of Mexico, is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the United States. 
The University of Houston (UH) set up an air quality measurement facility at the University main campus on the roof of the 18-story tall North Moody Tower residence hall. The general information about this site is given in Table 1. This facility includes a 35 ft high sampling tower and is equipped with air chemistry measurements including O3, CO, NO, NO2, NO, PAN, PPN, MPAN, VOCs, and meteorological instrumentation. It also includes measurements of photolysis frequencies for O3, NO, HONO and HCHO and 16 other important photolysis reactions.
Aero-Laser equipment is used for the TexAQS II Radical Measurement Project (TRAMP) in 2006 and several other research programs.

Moody Progress Report

Further informations

Publications

Publication single view

Article

Title: Ambient formaldehyde source attribution in Houston during TexAQS II and TRAMP
Authors: B. Buzcu Guven and E.P. Olaguer
Journal: Atmos. Env.
Year: 2011
Volume: 45
Pages: 4272
DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2011.04.079
Web URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231011004687
Abstract: An online data repository known as the Air Research Information Infrastructure (ARII) was used to discriminate large industrial sources of formaldehyde (HCHO) from mobile and secondary formaldehyde sources in Houston. Analysis of continuous online measurements at one urban and two industrial sites obtained during the summer of 2006 enabled us to isolate and evaluate major source factors associated with formaldehyde. The contribution of industrial sources to total atmospheric formaldehyde at the urban Houston site is estimated to be 17%, compared to 23% for mobile sources, 36% secondary formation, and 24% biogenic sources. The potential industrial sources include flares from petrochemical plants and refineries in the Port of Houston. The relative contribution of industrial source factors to ambient HCHO at the urban site increased to about 66% on some mornings, coinciding with the HCHO peak concentration. Secondary formation of HCHO during the day and night resulted from reactions of industrial olefins and other VOCs with OH or ozone. Some peak HCHO concentrations can also be linked to emission events of other VOCs, while a significant portion remains unexplained by the reported events. It is likely, based on the results from the SHARP campaign and our analysis, that some episodic emission events releasing primary HCHO are unreported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

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