Pollutant Transformation, Summer 2013 Aircraft Intensive Multi Parameters, Oil Sands Region
During August and September 2013, a research aircraft was deployed in the oil sands region. The flight paths of the aircraft were designed to measure air pollutants in plumes around the immediate vicinity of the major oil sands surface mining facilities, as well as downwind of these sources, and also at various heights above the ground. These flight paths enabled measurements of how concentrations of air pollutants change with elevation in the atmosphere as well as with distance from pollution sources. The aircraft was equipped with a comprehensive suite of instruments to measure gases, particles and meteorological conditions.
It is not appropriate to directly compare these short-term data, measured by aircraft at various altitudes above the surface, with ambient air quality objectives for ground-level concentrations. The measurements were made to characterize and improve understanding of the chemical and physical processes that the oil sands pollutants undergo in the atmosphere. The measurements provide information to estimate the quantity and types of pollutants emitted from oil sands operations, to map out how far the pollutants are transported, and to understand how fast they are chemically converted to new forms of pollutants in the atmosphere. This information will be integrated into a comprehensive air quality model that will be used to predict current and future air pollutant levels and surface deposition amounts near and also far downwind of the oil sands. These environmental predictions help identify locations that may experience harmful effects today and in the future as the oil sands development expands and multiple pollutants accumulate in the environment.
To use these data, they must be linked to the latitude, longitude and altitude information provided in the Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – Summer 2013 data set.
Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – Summer 2013
A number of different samples of atmospheric chemistry were collected between August 13 and September 7, 2013, along 22 flight paths over parts of the oil sands region. This link provides the location and atmospheric conditions at the aircraft at the time of sample collection at 1-second time resolution.
Combining the location and atmospheric conditions information with chemistry data (below) will help to document the transformation, transport and fate of substances emitted from oil sands development activities.
Condensation Particle Number Concentration for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – Summer 2013
Particle number concentration measurements are organized by the time of sample collection so that they can be combined withFlight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – Summer 2013 dataset.
The particle number concentration is the number of particles up to 2.5 µm in diameter in a volume of air. There are no environmental guidelines for this parameter.
Particle number concentration data can be used with other datasets posted on the portal to quantify the emission, transformation, transport and deposition of substances emitted from oil sands activities.
Volatile Organic Compounds from the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – Summer 2013
Approximately 800 canisters were used to sample the airstream outside of the aircraft for 20 seconds each (approximately 2 km in distance) during 22 flights flown between August 13 and September 7, 2013. Each canister sample was analyzed to determine the concentration of 154 different volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many of these organic chemicals are important precursors to formation of ozone and secondary particulate matter.
The VOC concentration data reported here are generally higher than values reported by Simpson et al. (2010) measured for 76 VOCs from 17 samples collected during 1 aircraft flight in 2008.
This VOC dataset can be used with other datasets posted on the portal to quantify the emission, transformation, transport and deposition of substances emitted from oil sands activities.
The VOC data are organized by the time of sample collection so that they can be combined with the Flight State Parameters for the Airborne Measurements in the Oil Sands Region – Summer 2013 dataset.
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