Pollution Transportation Affects Wisconsin

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Sunday, 2 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Stephanie R. Lein, Northland College, Burlington, WI

During the week of February 24th, 2008 and the week of March 8th, 2010 Wisconsin experienced two pollution episodes where levels of PM2.5 climbed above the national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS). The goal here is to understand how pollution can be transported, and how it can have significant impacts on one area versus another. Particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5) is a type of pollutant that can be trapped in various parts of the respiratory system and cause health problems. Meteorological processes can influence these fine particles when they are suspended in the air column. A Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) model, provided by Air Resources Laboratory, uses historical meteorological data from a specified date and location and tracks the movement of an air parcel. In this study, a HYSPLIT model with an average backward trajectory time of 96 hours showed the air moving to Wisconsin locations for the dates mentioned above. Impacts on air quality can be verified by studying collected data during the time of the event. Charts and graphs are provided to accentuate the quality of air influenced by pollution transport within a region. The HYSPLIT analysis is paired with Geographic Information System (GIS) maps to visually show the movement of the pollution, and the severity of these episodes across Wisconsin.