ES 1110 NEX Atmospheric Pollution Discussion & Modeling Air Quality Patterns Lab: Environmental Science Answers 2021

ES 1110 NEX Atmospheric Pollution Discussion & Modeling Air Quality Patterns Lab: Environmental Science Answers 2021

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ES 1110 NEX Atmospheric Pollution Discussion & Modeling Air Quality Patterns Lab

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ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
1
Modeling Air Quality
Introduction
Air quality is determined by the pollutants in the air including ozone, particulate matter, carbon
monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2) nitrogen dioxide (NO2), lead (Pb), and volatile organic
compounds. Long term monitoring of air quality throughout the United States indicates that
there have been substantial reductions in the emissions of common air pollutants since 1980.
However, there are still areas with poor air quality that can impact human health. Millions of
tons of pollution are emitted into the atmosphere in the U.S. contributing to the formation of
ozone and particles, the deposition of acids, and visibility impairment. The maximum
acceptable limits were established by the U.S. EPA in the National Ambient Air Quality
Standards. Instead of looking at each of these parameters, an indexed value is often used; it
summarizes air quality into single value known as the Air Quality Index (AQI). The AQI is based
on the concentrations of the pollutants and the acceptable limits set by the EPA. A
concentration that is above the maximum acceptable concentration will have a much higher
AQI than one that is much less than the maximum acceptable concentration. AQI values range
from 0 (excellent air quality) to 500 (hazardous air quality) (See Table 1). The higher the index,
the higher the level of pollutants and the greater the likelihood of health effects.
Color
Air Quality
Rating
Air Quality
Index Value
Green
Good
0 to 50
Description
Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air
pollution poses little or no risk.
Yellow
Moderate
51 to 100
Air quality is acceptable; however, for some
pollutants there may be a moderate health
concern for a very small number of people who
are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Orange
Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
101 to 150
Members of sensitive groups may experience
health effects. The general public is not likely to
be affected.
Red
Unhealthy
151 to 200
Everyone may begin to experience health
effects; members of sensitive groups may
experience more serious health effects.
Purple
Very Unhealthy
201 to 300
Health warnings of emergency conditions. The
entire population is more likely to be affected.
Maroon
Hazardous
301 to 500
Health alert: everyone may experience more
serious health effects.
Table 1. Air quality Index (AQI) values
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
2
In this laboratory exercise we will be examining the factors that affect quality including weather
and human activities. The data that we will be using comes a computer model developed by
the U.S. EPA and the Sacramento Air Quality Management District to demonstrate how
environmental factors and human activities can result in air pollution in urban areas for up to 2
million people.
The computer model examines how air quality changes over a 24 hour period. In the morning,
the air quality is usually good but as the day proceeds air pollution results from human activities
(such as industry and motor vehicles) and from natural sources (like trees and plants). (see
Table 2.) The model takes into account variations in human activity, such as morning and
evening rush-hour traffic. The emissions from factories and tail pipes are subject to air
movement, mixing, and dilution, and by meteorological effects such as wind speed, sunlight,
and temperature. Each of these factors are described in detail at the end of the lab.
Weather
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Emissions
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Roads
Consumer Products
Industry
Population Size
Condition
Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Cloudy
None, High-Altitude, Low-Altitude
Calm, light breeze, breezy, windy
30oF, 40oF, 50oF, 80oF, 90oF, 100oF, 110oF
Condition
light, medium, high
minimum, light, medium, high, very high
minimum, light, medium, high, very high
minimum, light, medium, high, very high
minimum, light, medium, high, very high
400,000, 800,000, 1.2 million, 1.6 million, 2 million
Table 2. Model Settings for Environmental Factors and Human Activity
Pollutants
The model accounts for all of these factors to determine the rate of chemical reactions that
cause ozone and particulate matter pollution levels to increase or decrease. We learned earlier
that ozone is important in the stratosphere to protect the planet from ultra-violet radiation.
However, ozone at or near ground level is a problem. It can cause lung damage and aggravate
health problems such as asthma. Particulate matter includes from small particles including
dust, smoke, and fine droplets of liquids. Inhaling particulate matter can result in variety of
respiratory problems. Particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter pose the greatest threat,
because they can get deep into your lungs, and may even enter your bloodstream.
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
3
Figure 1
Emissions
4
300
Em is s ion Le ve ls
Air Quality Index (AQI)
The output of the model is divided into three components (see Figure 1); 1) a 24-hour time
series plot of ozone and particulate matter, 2) an emissions bar chart, and 3) the settings for
environmental conditions and human activity levels. Note that the time series plot also shows
the AQI value (149) and the health status (orange).
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
Energy Cars Offroad Consum er Industry
Sources Trucks
Products
AQI = 149
Health Status: Orange
Unhealthy for sensitve
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
medium
medium
medium
medium
Part 1. Human Activity and Ozone Levels
We will start by looking at effect of human activity on Ozone levels. Ozone forms when
nitrogen oxides (NOX) and volatile organic compounds (hydrocarbons) react with sunlight and
heat. Ozone generally peak by early evening but then decreases substantially when sun goes
down.
Figure 2 shows the model results when the number of motor vehicles (cars and trucks) are set
to minimum. In most urban areas the number of cars and trucks fall into the high category.
Figure 3 shows the model results with cars and trucks set to high and off road activity set to
minimum. Figures 4 and 5 show the model results when the consumer products are set to
minimum and industry is set to minimum.
Question
1. Based on your results from Figures 2 -5 which emission source (industry, energy
sources, cars and trucks, or consumer products) appears to have the largest influence
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
4
on the AQI? You can determine this by finding which emission sources were highest
when AQI is the highest.
300
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 80
Health Status: Yellow
Moderate
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
minimum
medium
medium
medium
Figure 3
Emissions
4
300
Em is s ion Le ve ls
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Emissions
4
Em ission Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Figure 2
200
100
3
2
1
0
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 158
Health Status: Red
Unhealthy
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
minimum
medium
medium
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
Emissions
4
300
Em is s ion Le ve ls
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Figure 4
200
100
5
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
6 PM
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
Midnight
AQI = 175
Ozone
Health Status: Red
Particulate Matter
Unhealthy
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
minimum
medium
Figure 5
Emissions
300
Em is s ion Le ve ls
Air Quality Index (AQI)
4
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 175
Health Status: Red
Unhealthy
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
minimum
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
6
Part 2. Population Influence
Now let?s look at how population affects air quality. Figures 6-9 show emissions and AQI
patterns for different population sizes. The only parameter that changes is population size
which is indicated in bold text. Note how ozone and particulate matter concentrations differ
depending on population size.
Question
2. How does AQI differ as population size changes? Why does this occur? (Hint: Look at
the description of population in the help file.)
Figure 6
Emissions
300
Em is sion Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
4
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
400,000
6 PM
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
AQI = 48
Health Status: Green
Good
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
medium
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
Emissions
4
300
Em is s ion Le ve ls
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Figure 7
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
800,000
Energy Cars Offroad Consum er Industry
Sources Trucks
Products
6 PM Midnight
AQI = 105
Health Status: Orange
Unhealthy for sensitive
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
medium
Figure 8
Emissions
4
300
Em ission Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
7
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
AQI = 175
Health Status: Red
Unhealthy
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
medium
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
Emissions
4
300
Em is sion Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Figure 9
250
200
150
100
8
3
2
1
0
50
0
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
90oF
2 million
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 215
Health Status: Purple
Very Unhealthy
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
medium
Part 3. Environmental Conditions
Temperature
Environmental conditions also affect air quality. Figures 10 and 11 allow us to compare model
results for different temperatures.
Question
3. What happens to the AQI as temperature increases? Is the change in AQI primarily
associated with ozone or particulate matter? To determine this, look at the line graphs
for ozone and particulate matter then determine which is highest when the AQI is
highest.
Cloud Cover
There is also a link between cloud cover/sunlight and AQI. Figures 12 and 13 show the model
results for different cloud cover conditions.
Questions
4. What happens to AQI and ozone levels when the cloud cover increases? Why does this
occur?
5. If you were responsible for maintaining air quality in Smog City, what steps would you
recommend to take to reduce ozone levels on hot, bright sunny days?
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
Emissions
4
300
Em is sion Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Figure10
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
6 PM
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
Midnight
AQI = 146
Health Status: Orange
Unhealthy for sensitive
Conditions
sunny
none
calm
40oF
1.2 million
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
medium
medium
medium
minimum
Figure 11
Emissions
4
300
Em ission Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
9
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
sunny
low-altitude
calm
110oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 202
Health Status:Purple
Very Unhealthy
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
medium
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
Emissions
Figure 12
Em ission Levels
Air Quality Index (AQI)
4
300
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
Ene rgy Cars Offroad Cons um e r Indus try
Source s Truck s
Products
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
Environment
Cloud/Sky Cover
Inversion
Wind
Temperature
Population
Conditions
cloudy
low-altitude
calm
90oF
1.2 million
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 119
Health Status: Orange
Unhealthy for sensitve
Activity
Energy Sources
Cars and Trucks
Off Road
Consumer Products
Industry
Level
minimum
high
medium
medium
medium
Figure 13
Emissions
4
300
Em is s ion Le ve ls
Air Quality Index (AQI)
10
200
100
3
2
1
0
0
Midnight
Energy Cars Offroad Consum er Industry
Sources Trucks
Products
6 AM
Noon
Ozone
Particulate Matter
6 PM
Midnight
AQI = 175
Health Status: Red
Unhealthy
Environment
Conditions
Activity
Cloud/Sky Cover sunny
Energy Sources
Inversion
low-altitude Cars and Trucks
Wind
calm
Off Road
o
Temperature
90 F
Consumer Products
Population
1.2 million
Industry
Part 3. Tracking Changes in AQI Over Time
Level
medium
high
medium
medium
medium
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
11
In general, air quality has improved throughout the United States over the last two decades. In this
portion of the lab you will be examining annual plots of AQI parameters. These plots show daily AQI
values over the course of the year. Figures 14 and 15 show the annual AQI values for ozone and carbon
monoxide for Pittsburgh, PA for 2000 and 2018.
Figure 24. Daily Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Levels for
Pittsburgh, PA in 2000
Figure 15. Daily Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Levels for
Pittsburgh, PA in 2018
Comparing the plots it is apparent that air quality
AQI values were highest during the summer months. Air quality improved between 2000 and 2018 with
fewer instances of air quality being classified as unhealthy in 2018. You will be examining similar plots
for the city nearest your location. It?s fine to choose a different city if you don?t see one near your
location.
Instructions:
Goto https://www.epa.gov/outdoor-air-quality-data/air-data-aqi-plot
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Select PM2.5 for first pollutant and PM10 second pollutant
Select 2000 for Year
Choose a city or county of interest
Click on Plot Data
Copy the graph into a Word file or word processor of choice. You can copy the graph by right
clicking on the graph and selecting copy.
Repeat the process for the most recent year and copying the resulting graph.
Repeat the process for NO2 and SO2 and CO and Ozone
Based on the resulting graphs note how each pollutant levels changed between 2000 & 2018.
There should be six plots in total.
Use Table 3 to note changes between years for each parameter. An example of a completed table
is shown after the example graphs below.
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
PM2.5
Air Quality Laboratory
PM10
NO2
SO2
Change
(Increase,
Decrease, or
No change)
Table 3. AQI Changes between 200 and the present
An example set of data for Pittsburgh, PA are shown on the next two pages.
Example Results : Air Quality for Pittsburgh, PA 2000 and 2018
Air Quality Graphs for Pittsburgh, PA 2000 and 2018
12
CO
Ozone
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern
Air Quality Laboratory
13
Air Quality Summary for Pittsburgh, PA 2000 and 2018
PM2.5
Change
(Increase,
Decrease,
No change)
Large
decrease.
There were 47
days in 2000
in the
unhealthy
range and
only 6 days
for sensitive
groups in
2018.
PM10
Minor
decrease
from
moderate
to good
range
NO2
Minor
decrease
from
moderate
to good
levels in
2018
SO2
Large
decrease.
Much
fewer
unhealthy
days in
2018
CO
Slight
decrease in
CO levels.
Was in
good range
for both
years
Ozone
Large
decrease
during
summer
months.
Question
6. Attach the graphs and the completed Table you created to this page. Write a short summary
describing the changes in the AQI parameters for the city or county that you are examining.
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern ? Modeling Air Quality Laboratory Answers
Modeling Air Quality Patterns
Part I. Save Smog City from Ozone: Emissions
1. (10 pts.) Based on your results from Figures 2 -5 which emission source (industry,
energy sources, cars and trucks, or consumer products) appears to have the largest
influence on the AQI? You can determine this by finding which emission sources were
highest when AQI is the highest.
Answer:
Population Influence
2. (20 pts.) How does AQI differ as population size changes? Why does this occur?
Answer:
Part II Save Smog City from Ozone: Weather
3. (20 pts.) What happens to the AQI as temperature increases? Is the change primarily
associated with ozone or particulate matter? To determine this, look at the line graphs
for ozone and particulate matter then determine which is highest when the AQI is
highest.
Answer:
4. (20 pts.) What happens to AQI and ozone levels when the cloud cover increases? Why
does this occur?
Answer:
5. (25 pts.) If you were responsible for maintaining air quality in Smog City, what steps
would you recommend to take to reduce ozone levels on hot, bright sunny days?
Answer:
6. (5 pts.) Attach the graphs and the completed Table you created to this page. Write a short
summary describing the changes in the AQI parameters for the city or county that you are
examining.
Answer:
ES1110 Environmental Science: A Global Concern ? Modeling Air Quality Help
Modeling Air Quality Help
Parameters
Weather
Daily weather conditions can significantly affect ozone and particle pollution levels. Ozone
levels are highest in the summer when high temperatures, calm winds, and lots of sunshine
prevail.
Cloud/Sky Cover
Sunlight accelerates the chemical reactions that form ozone. Clouds reduce sunlight and slow
ozone formation. Particle pollution forms more quickly when there is moisture or cloud droplets in
the air and increasing cloud cover speeds up particle pollution formation. Cloud cover can be
sunny, partly cloudy, or cloudy.
Inversion
A temperature inversion occurs when a layer of warm air above the ground that traps particle
pollution and ground-level ozone below it. This ?lid? prevents air from mixing upward, as it
normally does.
Wind
Winds blow em?

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