Pollutant Transformation, Summer 2013 Ground-based Intensive Multi Parameters – Fort McKay, Oil Sands Region
From August 10 to September 10, 2013, ground-based monitoring was significantly augmented at the Fort McKay South site (AMS13) to measure additional air pollutants and meteorological properties beyond what was available from the established long-term air quality monitoring in the area. This air monitoring study, undertaken in parallel with measurements from an aircraft flying over and downwind of the oil sands, was designed to gain a clearer picture of the mixture of air pollutants produced from different oil sands related activities and how they react and are transported in the atmosphere. These data are used to improve the capability of air quality models to determine current and future air pollutant levels and amounts of atmospheric deposition of pollutants over and downwind of the oil sands region.
Periods of elevated pollutant concentrations were observed; however, none of these surpassed the current short duration (hourly, 8 hour or 24 hour) federal and provincial standards. The data show many time periods with ambient air concentrations of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and\/or nitrogen oxide (NOx) that are 20 times above the regional background levels. SO2 emissions are generally associated with bitumen processing, whereas NOx emissions are closely associated with transportation sources. Both SO2 and NOx events were accompanied by increases in particulate matter (PM2.5). The chemical composition of the PM2.5 varied throughout the study.
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