Monday, 10 February 2003
Ozone Formation in the Alberta Oil Sands Area
Northeast Alberta is the location of a significant oil sands mining activity. The mine developments include several large point and area NOX sources surrounded by an ocean of biogenic VOC emissions from the adjacent boreal forest.. Current anthropogenic emission of NOX are 70 tonnes/yr, increasing 400 tonnes/yr due to an expected 50 billion dollars of additional mine developments being proposed. Atmospheric chemistry modeling studies have predicted that current emissions from mine developments elevate regional ground-level ozone levels. Additional emissions from proposed developments are predicted to result in ozone levels in exceedance of the Canada-wide Standards (65 ppb 8-hr).
An airborne measurement program spanning the summers of 2001 and 2002 is underway to sample ozone, its precursors and other byproducts. The field program conducted in 2001 showed relatively rapid loss of SO2 and NOY in the oil sands plumes. Ozone production was observed to begin at about 3 hours parcel age. Ozone production efficiency was estimated at 2 molecules of ozone per molecule of NOY consumed. Results agreed well with photochemical modeling results.
The 2002 field study focused on sampling plume parcels aged 5 hours and longer. Emissions from natural and anthropogenic ground based sources were examined. Preliminary results from the full field program will be presented.