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Photochemical model performance for PM2.5 sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, and precursor species SO2, HNO3, and NH3 at background monitor locations in the central and eastern United States.

Baker K; Scheff P
Atmos Environ 2007 Sep; 41(29):6185-6195
Health studies have shown premature death is statistically associated with exposure to particulate matter 2.5 microm in diameter (PM2.5). The United States Environmental Protection Agency requires all States with PM2.5 non-attainment counties or with sources contributing to visibility impairment at Class I areas to submit an emissions control plan. These emission control plans will likely focus on reducing emissions of sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, which form two of the largest chemical components of PM2.5 in the eastern United States: ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate. Emission control strategies are simulated using three-dimensional Eulerian photochemical transport models. A monitor study was established using one urban (Detroit) and nine rural locations in the central and eastern United States to simultaneously measure PM2.5 sulfate ion (SO2-4), nitrate ion (NO3-), ammonium ion (NH4 +), and precursor species sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitric acid (HNO3), and ammonia (NH3). This monitor study provides a unique opportunity to assess how well the modeling system predicts the spatial and temporal variability of important precursor species and co-located PM2.5 ions, which is not well characterized in the central and eastern United States. The modeling system performs well at estimating the PM2.5 species, but does not perform quite as well for the precursor species. Ammonia is under-predicted in the coldest months, nitric acid tends to be over-predicted in the summer months, and sulfur dioxide appears to be systematically over-predicted. Several indicators of PM2.5 ammonium sulfate and ammonium nitrate formation and chemical composition are estimated with the ambient data and photochemical model output. PM2.5 sulfate ion is usually not fully neutralized to ammonium sulfate in ambient measurements and is usually fully neutralized in model estimates. The model and ambient estimates agree that the ammonia study monitors tend to be nitric acid limited for PM2.5 nitrate formation. Regulatory strategies in this part of the country should focus on reductions in NOX rather than ammonia to control PM2.5 ammonium nitrate.
Chemical-composition; Chemical-properties; Emission-sources; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Particulates; Monitors
Kirk Baker, 9501 West Devon Avenue, Suite 701, Rosemont, IL 60018
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Atmospheric Environment
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University of Illinois at Chicago
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division