Examining Transportation of Natural Gas Exploration Emissions in the High Plains Region Using the WRF-Chem Model

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Samantha I. Strong-Henninger, Creighton University, Omaha, NE; and T. J. Wagner and D. Stokowski

Surface ozone production relies on chemical reactions between nitrous oxides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Natural gas production is responsible for the production of both of these chemicals: heavy machinery in drilling and extracting processes generate nitrous oxides (NOx) and leaks in wells and pipelines allow VOCs to vent into the atmosphere. Omaha, NE and Tulsa, OK are two cities with comparable size, populations, and topography. In contrast with one another, Tulsa has many natural gas drilling sites nearby, whereas Omaha lies above the Forest City Basin, which is an area with natural gas extraction potential. These two cities' surface ozone emissions are contrasted with one another using the Weather Research and Forecasting-Chemistry (WRF-Chem) model and observations from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-regulated ground-level ultraviolet spectrophotometry instruments. Air quality will be simulated in both cities' regions and will focus on advection from urban sources and natural gas drilling sites to rural regions downwind of these sources in order to determine the magnitude of ozone production forced by natural gas production as opposed to other urban processes.