Journal article

A plume-in-grid approach to characterize air quality impacts of aircraft emissions at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

Rissman J, Arunachalam S, Woody M, West J, Bendor T, Binkowski F ...see all

Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 13, issue 18 (2013) pp. 9285-9302

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This study examined the impacts of aircraft emis-sions during the landing and takeoff cycle on PM 2.5 con-centrations during the months of June and July 2002 at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Primary and secondary pollutants were modeled using the Advanced Modeling System for Transport, Emissions, Reactions, and Deposition of Atmospheric Matter (AMSTERDAM). AMS-TERDAM is a modified version of the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) model that incorporates a plume-in-grid process to simulate emissions sources of interest at a finer scale than can be achieved using CMAQ's model grid. Three fundamental issues were investigated: the ef-fects of aircraft on PM 2.5 concentrations throughout north-ern Georgia, the differences resulting from use of AMS-TERDAM's plume-in-grid process rather than a traditional CMAQ simulation, and the concentrations observed in air-craft plumes at subgrid scales. Comparison of model re-sults with an air quality monitor located in the vicinity of the airport found that normalized mean bias ranges from −77.5 % to 6.2 % and normalized mean error ranges from 40.4 % to 77.5 %, varying by species. Aircraft influence av-erage PM 2.5 concentrations by up to 0.232 µg m −3 near the airport and by 0.001–0.007 µg m −3 throughout the Atlanta metro area. The plume-in-grid process increases concentra-tions of secondary PM pollutants by 0.005–0.020 µg m −3 (compared to the traditional grid-based treatment) but re-duces the concentration of non-reactive primary PM pol-lutants by up to 0.010 µg m −3 , with changes concentrated near the airport. Examination of subgrid-scale results indi-cates that median aircraft contribution to grid cells is higher than median puff concentration in the airport's grid cell and outside of a 20 km × 20 km square area centered on the air-port, while in a 12 km × 12 km square ring centered on the airport, puffs have median concentrations over an order of magnitude higher than aircraft contribution to the grid cells. Maximum puff impacts are seen within the 12 km × 12 km ring, not in the airport's own grid cell, while maximum grid cell impacts occur within the airport's grid cell. Twenty-one (21) % of all aircraft-related puffs from the Atlanta airport have at least 0.1 µg m −3 PM 2.5 concentrations. Near the air-port, median daily puff concentrations vary between 0.017 and 0.134 µg m −3 (0.05 and 0.35 µg m −3 at ground level), while maximum daily puff concentrations vary between 6.1 and 42.1 µg m −3 (7.5 and 42.1 µg m −3 at ground level) dur-ing the 2-month period. In contrast, median daily aircraft contribution to grid concentrations varies between 0.015 and 0.091 µg m −3 (0.09 and 0.40 µg m −3 at ground level), while the maximum varies between 0.75 and 2.55 µg m −3 (0.75 and 2.0 µg m −3 at ground level). Future researchers may consider using a plume-in-grid process, such as the one used here, to understand the impacts of aircraft emissions at other airports, for proposed future airports, for airport expansion projects under various future scenarios, and for other national-scale studies specifically when the maximum impacts at fine scales are of interest. Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union. 9286 J. Rissman et al.: A plume-in-grid approach to characterize air quality impacts

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