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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: High time resolution measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were collectedusing a proton-transfer-reaction quadrupole mass spectrometry (PTR-QMS) instrument at the PlattevilleAtmospheric Observatory (PAO) in Colorado to investigate how oil and natural gas (ONG) developmentimpacts air quality within the Wattenburg Gas Field (WGF) in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. The measurementswere carried out in July and August 2014 as part of NASAs Deriving Information on Surface Conditions fromColumn and Vertically Resolved Observations Relevant to Air Quality (DISCOVER-AQ) field campaign. ThePTR-QMS data were supported by pressurized whole air canister samples and airborne vertical and horizontalsurveys of VOCs. Unexpectedly high benzene mixing ratios were observed at PAO at ground level (meanbenzene 0.53 ppbv, maximum benzene 29.3 ppbv), primarily at night (mean nighttime benzene 0.73ppbv). These high benzene levels were associated with southwesterly winds. The airborne measurementsindicate that benzene originated from within the WGF, and typical source signatures detected in the canistersamples implicate emissions from ONG activities rather than urban vehicular emissions as primary benzenesource. This conclusion is backed by a regional toluene-to-benzene ratio analysis which associated southerlyflow with vehicular emissions from the Denver area. Weak benzene-to-CO correlations confirmed that trafficemissions were not responsible for the observed high benzene levels. Previous measurements at the BoulderAtmospheric Observatory (BAO) and our data obtained at PAO allow us to locate the source of benzeneenhancements between the two atmospheric observatories. Fugitive emissions of benzene from ONGoperations in the Platteville area are discussed as the most likely causes of enhanced benzene levels at PAO.
    Keywords: Geosciences (General)
    Type: GSFC-E-DAA-TN40686 , Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres (ISSN 2169-897X) (e-ISSN 2169-8996); 121; 18; 11,055-11,074
    Format: application/pdf
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