2.2 Modeling the convective transport of pollutants from eastern Colorado, USA into Rocky Mountain National Park

Monday, 11 January 2016: 1:45 PM
Room 243 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Aaron J. Piņa, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, CO; and R. S. Schumacher and A. S. Denning

Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) is a Class I Airshed designated under the Clean Air Act. Atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition in the Park has been a known problem since weekly measurements of wet deposition of inorganic N began in the 1980s by the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). The addition of N from urban and agriculture emissions along the Colorado Front Range to montane ecosystems degrades air quality/visibility, water quality, and soil pH levels.

Based on NADP data during summers 1994-2014, wet N deposition at Beaver Meadows in RMNP exhibited a bimodal gamma distribution. In this study, we identified meteorological transport mechanisms for 3 high wet-N deposition events (all events were within the secondary peak of the gamma distribution) using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) and the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. The NARR was used to identify synoptic-scale influences on the transport; the WRF model was used to analyze the convective transport of pollutants from a concentrated animal feeding operation near Greeley, Colorado, USA. The WRF simulation included a passive tracer from the feeding operation and a convection-permitting horizontal spacing of 4/3 km. The three cases suggest (a) synoptic-scale moisture and flow patterns are important for priming summer transport events and (b) convection plays a vital role in the transport of Front Range pollutants into RMNP.

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