The effect of anthropogenic volatile organic compound sources on ozone in Boise, Idaho

Academic Article


  • Here, we present the application of a tiered approach to apportion the contributions of volatile organic compound (VOC) sources on ozone (O 3) concentrations. VOCs from acetylene to n-propylbenzene were measured at two sites at Boise, Idaho, using an online pneumatically focussed gas chromatography system. The mean 24-h concentrations of individual VOCs varied from 0.4ppbC (parts per billion carbon) for 1-butene to 23.2ppbC for m- and p-xylene. The VOC sources at the two monitoring sites were determined by positive matrix factorisation. They were attributed to: (i) liquefied petroleum and natural gas (LPG/NG) emissions; (ii) fugitive emissions of olefins from fuel and solvents; (iii) fugitive emissions of aromatic VOCs from area sources and (iv) vehicular emissions. Vehicle exhausts accounted for 36 to 45% of VOCs followed by LPG/NG and fugitive emissions of aromatic VOCs. Evaluation of photochemical changes showed that the four separate VOC sources were identified by PMF rather than different stages of photochemical processing of fresh emissions. The contributions of VOC sources on daily 8-h maximum O3 concentrations measured at seven locations in the metropolitan urban area were identified by regression analysis. The four VOC sources added, on average, 6.4 to 16.5 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) O3, whereas the unexplained (i.e. intercept) O3 was comparable to non-wildfire policy-relevant background O3 levels in the absence of all anthropogenic emissions of VOC precursors in North America for the region. Traffic was the most significant source influencing O3 levels contributing up to 32ppbv for days with O3 concentrations higher than 75ppbv. © CSIRO 2014.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Vargas V; Chalbot MC; O'Brien R; Nikolich G; Dubois DW; Etyemezian V; Kavouras IG
  • Start Page

  • 445
  • End Page

  • 458
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 4