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Atmospheric Environment

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Air quality -- Texas -- Gulf Coast, Air quality, Air -- Pollution -- Measurement


Extensive aerosol optical properties, particle size distributions, and Aerodyne quadrupole aerosol mass spectrometer measurements collected during TRAMP/TexAQS 2006 were examined in light of collocated meteorological and chemical measurements. Much of the evident variability in the observed aerosol-related air quality is due to changing synoptic meteorological situations that direct emissions from various sources to the TRAMP site near the center of the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria (HGB) metropolitan area. In this study, five distinct long-term periods have been identified. During each of these periods, observed aerosol properties have implications that are of interest to environmental quality management agencies. During three of the periods, long range transport (LRT), both intra-continental and intercontinental, appears to have played an important role in producing the observed aerosol. During late August 2006, southerly winds brought super-micron Saharan dust and sea salt to the HGB area, adding mass to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) measurements, but apparently not affecting secondary particle growth or gas-phase air pollution. A second type of LRT was associated with northerly winds in early September 2006 and with increased ozone and sub-micron particulate matter in the HGB area. Later in the study, LRT of emissions from wildfires appeared to increase the abundance of absorbing aerosols (and carbon monoxide and other chemical tracers) in the HGB area. However, the greatest impacts on Houston PM2.5air quality are caused by periods with low-wind-speed sea breeze circulation or winds that directly transport pollutants from major industrial areas, i.e., the Houston Ship Channel, into the city center.


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