Great Lakes Air Deposition Program Sponsored Projects
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Project Title: Modeling Fine PM, PAHs and Mercury Over the
Great Lakes Airshed Using CMAQ
Synopsis: Under this project, researchers will model
the atmospheric transport and transformation of several contaminants
in the air of the Great Lakes region. In addition to mercury, researchers
will focus on transport and deposition of particulate matter and several
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Working closely with researchers
and regulators at the state level, the university-based project will
develop and apply a modeling framework for use in predicting mercury
concentrations and deposition rates. These results will be compared
to observed levels for purposes of assessing and validating the model.
Chemicals Studied: The study will focus on mercury,
PAHs and particulate matter. Mercury is substance of high concern within
the Great Lakes region due to its high toxicity and tendency to accumulate
at high levels within fish. PAHs are a class of many compounds, emitted
primarily from combustion sources, many of which are persistent enough
to deposit and bioaccumulate to high levels. In this study, several
PAH compounds will be modeled as surrogates for the class as a whole.
Particulate matter includes all solids suspended in the atmosphere.
As many persistent toxic chemicals are present in particulate matter,
conclusions made regarding this contaminant will have implications for
many chemicals of concern.
Geographic Areas: The geography covered in the model
will focus on the northeastern U.S. and Great Lakes region, with a particular
focus on the portion of New York State in proximity to Lake Erie and
Project Duration: The project will begin in the Spring
of 2006 and will extend through the Fall of 2007.
Methods Used: Atmospheric modeling of pollutant emission,
transports and deposition will be done using the U.S. EPA’s Models-3/CMAQ
modeling system. Recent updates for mercury, PAHs and hazardous air
pollutants will be included, as will recent updates to photochemical
reaction rates. The model will use a mixture of emissions and meteorology
data from 2001-2003. Emissions will be processed with the SMOKE system
and meteorology with MM5. Model results will be validated against observed
concentrations from several monitoring stations in the region.
Potential Results and Implications: The results of
this modeling study will provide valuable information regarding the
transport and deposition of mercury, PAHs and other pollutants within
the region. In combination with other GLAD modeling activities, this
project will help determine the best approach for future efforts to
predict pollutant transport and deposition with atmospheric models.
Sherri Mason, Ph.D.
State University of New York at Fredonia