J2.3 The Impact of Meteorological Parameters on Urban Air Quality in the Oklahoma City Metro Area

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 8:45 AM
Room 6B (Austin Convention Center)
Nicole R. Ramsey, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and P. M. Klein

Previous studies have shown that global climate change will have a significant impact on both regional and urban air quality (Hogrefe et al., 2004; Jacob and Winner, 2004). As air temperatures continue to rise, surface ozone concentrations will likely increase. The direct effect of increasing air temperature on ozone concentrations is not the only factor that negatively influences air quality though. If mid-latitude cyclone frequencies decrease as expected, more widespread stagnation patterns will also lead to an overall degradation in air quality. 2011 was the warmest summer on record for the state of Oklahoma, with an average summer temperature of 30.94C. This record setting heat was also accompanied by an extreme drought that led to an exceptionally low rainfall total prior to and during the summer months. For these reasons, the summer of 2011 can be used as a case study for determining the impacts of hot, dry conditions on air quality. Statistical analysis was performed on ozone data and meteorological data from the Environmental Protection Agency and Oklahoma Mesonet, respectively, to determine the effect of increasing surface temperature and stagnation patterns on urban air quality in the Oklahoma City metro area. These results were then compared to cooler, wetter summers to show how urban air quality is affected by the changing climate. This research is of particular importance since climate models are currently predicting an increased frequency of record setting heat and drought in Oklahoma during the summer months.
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