Mort Webster, Junsang Nam, Yosuke Kimura, Harvey Jeffries, William Vizuete and David T. Allen, August 2007
Ambient observations have indicated that high concentrations of ozone observed in the Houston/Galveston area are associated with plumes of highly reactive hydrocarbons, mixed with NOBxB, from industrial facilities. Ambient observations and industrial process data, such as mass flow rates for industrial flares, indicate that the VOCs associated with these industrial emissions can have significant temporal variability. To characterize the effect of this variability in emissions on ozone formation in Houston, data were collected on the temporal variability of industrial emissions or emission surrogates (e.g., mass flow rates to flares). The observed emissions variability was then used to construct region-wide emission inventories with variable industrial emissions, and the impacts of the variability on ozone formation were examined for two types of meteorological conditions, both of which lead to high ozone concentrations in Houston. The air quality simulations indicate that variability in industrial emissions has the potential to cause increases and decreases of 10-52 ppb (13-316%), or more, in ozone concentration. The largest of these differences are restricted to regions of 10-20 kmP2P, but the variability also has the potential to increase region wide maxima in ozone concentrations by up to 12 ppb.