Spatial Variability in Ozone and CO2 Flux during the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment

Friday, 19 December 2014
Berkeley Almand-Hunter1, Ricardo Piedrahita1, Aleya Kaushik2, David C Noone3, John T Walker4 and Michael Hannigan1, (1)University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Dept Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences, Boulder, CO, United States, (3)Dept Atmospheric & Oceanic Sci, Boulder, CO, United States, (4)US EPA, Durham, NC, United States
Air quality problems persist in the Northern Front-Range Metropolitan Area (NFRMA) of Colorado despite efforts to reduce emissions, and summertime ozone concentrations frequently exceed the NAAQS. Atmospheric modeling in the NFRMA is challenging due to the complex topography of the area, as well as diversity of pollutant sources (urban NOx and VOCs, power plants, oil and gas, agricultural emissions, biogenic emissions, and wildfires). An improved understanding of the local atmospheric chemistry will enable researchers to advance atmospheric models, which will subsequently be used to develop and test more effective air quality management strategies. The Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment (FRAPPE) investigates this problem through detailed examination of atmospheric chemistry in the NFRMA. Our project specifically explores the spatial variability in ozone (O3) concentration and dry deposition within the FRAPPE study area.

One source of uncertainty in atmospheric models is O3 flux, which varies spatially due to local meteorology and variation in ambient concentration and deposition velocity. Model grid cells typically range in size from 10-100 km and 100-500 km, for regional and global models, respectively, and accurate representations of an entire grid cell cannot always be achieved. Large spatial variability within a model grid cell can lead to poor estimates of trace-gas flux and concentration. Our research addresses this issue by measuring spatial variability in O3 flux using low-cost dry-deposition flux chambers.

We are measuring O3 and CO2 flux with 5 low-cost flux chambers and one eddy-covariance tower. The eddy-covariance tower is located at the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory in Erie, CO. All 5 chambers are within a 8.3 x 6 km square, with one chamber collocated with the eddy-covariance tower, and the other 4 chambers at distances of 0.33, 1.14, 3.22, and 7.55 km from the tower. The largest distance between any two chambers is 8.5 km. All 5 chambers measure flux onto native grasslands across a range of natural variability in species and ecosystem productivity. Preliminary results show that ambient ozone concentrations and fluxes vary between sites. A detailed analysis of the variability in O3 fluxes and concentrations across measurement sites will be presented.